Sacred Music

Tuesday, May 31, AD 2011

We have an awesome Pope.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote a letter to Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Chancellor of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, on the occasion of the institution’s 100th anniversary. In this letter the Pope highlights the importance of sacred music and the type of music that is at the heart of proper worship.

The Pope then emphasized how, since St. Pius X until today, “even though evolving naturally, there has been a substantial continuity of the Magisterium on sacred music”. In particular he cited Paul VI and John Paul II who “in light of the conciliar constitution ‘Sacrosanctum Concilium’, reiterated the purpose of sacred music, that is to say, ‘the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful’ and the fundamental criteria of the corresponding tradition…: a sense of prayer, dignity, and beauty; full adherence to liturgical texts and expressions; the assembly’s participation and, therefore, the legitimate adaptation to local culture, at the same time maintaining the universality of language; the primacy of Gregorian chant as the supreme model of sacred music and the careful assessment of other expressive forms that make up the historical-liturgical patrimony of the Church, especially but not just polyphony; and the importance of the ‘schola cantorum’, particularly in cathedral churches”.

“However, we always have to ask ourselves: Who is the true subject of the liturgy? The answer is simple: the Church. It is not the individual or the group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God’s action through the Church with its history, its rich tradition, and its creativity. The liturgy, and thus sacred music, ‘lives from a correct and constant relationship between healthy traditio and legitimate progressio’, keeping always in mind that these two concepts … are interwoven because ‘tradition is a living reality that, therefore, encompasses within it the very principle of development and progress'”, the Pope concluded.

In just a couple of paragraphs Pope Benedict XVI superbly describes what the Mass is all about.

Did I mention that we have an awesome Pope?

Continue reading...

5 Responses to Sacred Music

  • So I wonder how a lovely rendition of God Bless the USA I heard at Mass last weekend should be taken. Do you think it best illustrates the ‘glory of God and the sanctification of the people’ or ‘legitimate adaptation to local culture’? Personally, I think it was wrong to use a country song that has very little to do with God other than the line “God bless the USA.” “I’m proud to be an American/ where at least I know I’m free” doesn’t seem to be appropriate for the worship of Jesus. What are your thoughts? Should I approach my priest and music director and let my feelings be heard?

    http://deltaflute.blogspot.com/2011/05/griping-about-liturgical-music.html

  • In general, there is nothing wrong with approaching your pastor – in a respectful way – about any issue you may have. No problems would ever be solved if we remained silent. So if you feel passionately that the musical selection was inappropriate, then you should feel free to tell your pastor.

    As to the specific hymns, I have no problem with patriotic anthems so long as they are also liturgically appropriate – in other words they should not take away from the point of the liturgy. “God Bless America” would not necessarily be my first choice of hymn for the occasion.

  • I would only be favor of singing God Bless The USA as a hymn if it were sung by a chipmunk choir. 🙂

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2011/05/08/osama-bin-laden-singing-chipmunks-and-euroweenism/

  • A very balanced letter from the Holy Father. If forced to quibble, I would just say when he refers to the church, I assume he means the Western Church.

  • Pingback: WEDNESDAY MORNING EDITION | ThePulp.it

One Response to Victory Over Bureaucracy!

Memorial Day 2011

Monday, May 30, AD 2011


Almighty God, our heavenly Father, let thy protection be upon all those who are in the service of our country; guard them from all harm and danger of body and soul; sustain and comfort those as home, especially in their hours of loneliness, anxiety, and sorrow; prepare the dying for death and the living for your service; give success to our arms on land and sea and in the air; and grant unto us and all nations a speedy, just and lasting peace. Amen.

— Prayer in Time of War

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Memorial Day 2011

Black Jack Logan and Memorial Day

Monday, May 30, AD 2011

Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience — almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both at home and abroad.

Pope Benedict, April 16, 2008

John A. Logan is the father of Memorial Day.  Today he is largely forgotten except to Civil War buffs and that is a shame.  He was a fascinating man and he is largely responsible for establishing the tradition of putting aside a day in the calendar to our nation’s war dead.

Logan began the Civil War as a Democrat congressman from southern Illinois.  He was ardently anti-War even after the firing on Fort Sumter, denouncing the Lincoln administration and calling for peace and compromise.  He was attacked as being disloyal to the Union and an almost advocate of the Confederacy.

This perception changed in the twinkling of an eye at the battle of Bull Run.  Like many another congressman he went out to view the Union army launch an attack on the Confederates.  Unlike the other congressmen, Logan picked up a musket and, attaching himself to a Michigan regiment, blazed away at the Confederates with that musket.  This experience transformed Logan into an ardent advocate of the War.

He returned to southern Illinois and gave a fiery speech in Marion, Illinois for the Union that helped swing that section of the state in support of the War.  Resigning from Congress, he helped raise an infantry regiment from southern Illinois, and was made colonel of the regiment, the 31rst Illinois.

Logan quickly made a name for himself as a fighter.  At the battle of Belmont he led his regiment in a successful charge, and was noted for his exceptional courage.  He would eventually be promoted to major general and was one of the best corp commanders in the Union army, briefly commanding the Army of the Tennessee.  He was wounded three times in the War, one of the wounds being serious enough that he was erroneously reported as killed, a report that might have been proven to be accurate if he had not been nursed back  to health by his wife.

Logan was never beaten in any engagement that he fought in during the War.  He was popular with his men who affectionately called him “Black Jack”, and would often chant his name on the battlefield as he led them from the front.  On May 24th 1865, as a tribute to his brilliant war record, he commanded the Army of the Tennessee during the victory Grand Review of the Union armies in Washington.

After the War, Logan began his political career anew, serving as a congressman from Illinois and a senator.  He was now a radical Republican and fought ardently for civil rights for blacks.  He ran for Vice President in 1884 on the Republican ticket that was defeated by Grover Cleveland.  He was considered the leading candidate for the Republican nomination in 1888, and might well have been elected President that year, but for his untimely death in 1886 at the age of sixty.

From 1868 to 1871, Logan served three consecutive terms as commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union veteran’s association.  He started the custom of remembering the Union war dead on May 30th when he issued General Order Eleven on May 5, 1868:

Continue reading...

23 Responses to Black Jack Logan and Memorial Day

  • Bye Steve. My tolerance for neo-Confederate rubbish is zero on Memorial Day.

  • As a Virginian I am proud of our Confederate heritage; however, Memorial Day is a day to remember all those who fought and died for the cause of freedom exemplified by America.

    I also like that you call us to recognize our responsibility. In these days, as our military is being abused and deployed for un-American foreign adventures, we must remember that those who serve are responsible for serving, it is the idiots in Washington that misuse their mission. Our military is the finest the world has ever seen and most of them serve with honor. We are also each responsible for doing our part to honor the war dead by fighting for the cause of freedom, which is the exception, not the rule of human history.

    To all the war dead, Requiescat in Pace.

  • Disagree with you AK that our troops are engaged in any “un-American foreign adventures”. However this is a day to honor them and not to engage in debate.

  • Agreed. That was my point, drawing from your post. I just wanted to highlight that no matter how we may feel or think about what are military is doing – the men and women doing it are honorable and deserve our gratitude.

  • Interesting to note that he was a “convert” of sorts to the Union cause, with his “Damascus” moment occurring at Bull Run/First Manassas.

  • In the twinkling of an eye in relative terms Elaine. Like all true converts he was then willing to put his own life on the line.

  • neo-Confederate rubbish

    A jaw-dropping amount of this stuff going around. Including apologias for slavery that could have come from the quill of Calhoun.

    Honoring of the brave soldiers of the Confederacy is mandatory, as are efforts to make sure they aren’t maligned with analogies to 20th Century totalitarianism. But I do not–and will not–understand trying to paint a benevolent face on the peculiar institution.

    Joe Wheeler proudly wore the blue uniform 33 years after Appomattox. Too many of his descendants are trying to figure out how to mass-produce the butternut.

  • Precisely Dale. I honor Lee, Jackson and many another commander of the Confederacy, along with those ragged heroes in the rank who fought bravely against overwhelming odds and, incredibly, came close to winning their lopsided war. However, those who pretend that slavery really wasn’t that bad, that blacks then were better off as slaves, and that secession did not occur in order to safeguard slavery, are simply at war with history.

  • I suppose that the Memorial Day truce is off. 😉

    I think we view this conflict too blindly and with an either or one-sideness. Was it about slavery? In some sense, yes. But it was not ONLY about slavery and evidence indicates that for the powers behind the war, slavery was merely to provide moral cover and not the primary aim. That does not mean we should tolerate or explain away slavery – it is an evil institution especially in its contemporary forms.

    History teaches that many brave men fought for their Southern homeland and most of her values while being vehemently against slavery. Let us also not forget that many in the North profited, even during the war, from the slave trade. Man and his nations are a messy creature.

    Nevertheless, despite lamenting that we lost the war, one very good thing that came out of it was the abolition of African slavery in the USA. Unfortunately the price was very high in lives and damage to the nation, it could have been different, but it wasn’t. Thanks be to God for the brave men who fought, on both sides, and for bringing the good out of our evils once again.

  • As I have said before: Yankee propagandists want to talk ONLY about slavery, even though that wasn’t the justification for making war against the population of the South; Neo-Confederate propagandists want to talk about EVERYTHING BUT slavery, even though the preservation of that institution was the primary justification for secession.

    I know I’m a minority among my American Catholic friends for my “pox on both your houses” view of the War Between the States, but BOTH sides are wrong. NEITHER side can be justified.

    Slavery and secession were unjustifiable blights upon the South’s history. (And Lee was actually opposed to both). But neither will I buy into some Manifest Destiny view of the United States of America One and Undivided in Perpetuity, World Without End, Amen that would justify making war on the populations of the Southern states who no longer wished to be associated with their estranged brethren in the North (regardless of the unjustified reasons for seeking such separation).

  • AK, we have the statements made by virtually all the Confederate leadership at the beginning of the War and the declarations of the causes of secession issued by most of the states indicating that secession was undertaken in defense of slavery. That is a fact beyond question or argument. Now, a different question is whether some ragged private in the ranks was fighting with slavery uppermost in his mind as he risked his life, since he had, in all likelihood, as much chance of purchasing a slave at $800.00 Federal as he did of being elected to the Confederate Congress some day? Probably not. He was fighting to drive out what he perceived as the Union invaders and to allow his people the right to rule themselves, including in regard to the question of slavery. So I can see how the cause of the war and what motivated the average soldier to fight might well have not coincided.

  • Jay, I am a subscriber in regard to the Civil War of what I think the late great Shelby Foote called the Great Truce:

    1. Southerners concede that it was a good thing that as a result of the Civil War that slavery was ended and the Union preserved.

    2. Northerners concede that Southerners in the Civil War fought with great determination and courage for a cause they believed right.

    I would add to this my own observation:

    3. If the Civil War taught us nothing else it taught us that we are one people: Union, Confederate, black and white.

  • Right, but the issue is not really the immorality of slavery, is it? Just because one state or a combination of states permit a morally offensive practice, does not justify an armed invasion of those states by some combination of other states.

    Slavery was, as a result of compromises at the time of the founding, constitutional. Hence, no matter what the feelings of moral superiority were that festered in the North, no legal or moral sanction existed to invade the South.

    Lincoln of course recognized this, famously stating that if he could keep the union without freeing a single slave he would do it: maintenance of the union was the sole war aim when the fighting began. Only later did Lincoln opportunistically seize on abolition as a war aim.

    I suppose some might hold that the constitution can be thrown overboard and ignored when we don’t like the outcomes it permits, but that’s a pretty dangerous road to travel.

    In sum, it’s a moral good that slavery was abolished, but it was a constitutional disaster, the effects of which we still suffer today as we watch the constitution routinely ignored or violated in the name of some supposed greater good.

    Maybe Mark Shea could chime in about constitutional “consequentialism”?

  • Please Tom do not invoke His Sheaness! 🙂

    Lincoln was clear in the campaign of 1860 that he had no intention of trying to free the slaves in the South, a theme he echoed throughout his career. He also was quite clear that slavery was a vast moral evil and that preventing it spreading into new territories was his goal, in hopes that without new areas to expand to slavery would eventually die out. Considering the devastating impact of long term plantation cultivation on the productivity of soil in a time before modern fertilizers, Lincoln may have been right about that long term, since the opening of new land for plantation cultivation was a key element in the economics of slavery in the South.

    If the pro-slavery forces in the South had taken him at his word, Lincoln would doubtless have spent a frustrating one term as President, with there being more than enough Democrat votes in the Senate to block almost all of his initiatives. Instead, by seceding, the pro-slavery forces in the South signed the death knell of the Peculiar Institution since it was only through War that slavery was going to be ended anytime soon, and War would follow secession as night would follow day, something two previous Southern Presidents, Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor, well understood.

  • Donald,

    If slavery is the backbone of your economic system and the sovereignty of your state secures it, then a threat to the slave economy is a threat to the states’ sovereignty. The issue could have been something else and sovereignty would still be the primary reason. Is it right to end slavery? Without a doubt. Is that what Lincoln intended? Not initially and neither did the Founders. Some were slave owners, others were not, yet slavery, immoral as it is, was codified in the US Constitution. Lincoln had no right to invade the South in order to end it and it could have been done for less cost in blood and treasure.

    All of the above can be discussed and debated; however, the principal cause of war, as always, is the lust for power and money. European powers, driven by transnational financial interests, agitated for and were prepared to enter war in order to divide the Union and weaken an emergent USA. In winning the war the way the war was won and with the evil military occupation following, the character of this Union was so dramatically changed that we are seeing the fruits of it today as we lose our liberties and tilt toward being absorbed by a regional politco-economic entity or worse a global one. Each and every state and commonwealth in this Union is sovereign with a voluntary transfer of some of that power to the Federal Branch. Thanks to Lincoln’s war, that concept is almost forgotten and the Union will die by the same sword it raised against the South.

  • . Lincoln had no right to invade the South in order to end it and it could have been done for less cost in blood and treasure.

    He didn’t “invade” the South to end slavery. Lincoln engaged in war because several states illegally seceded.

    the principal cause of war, as always, is the lust for power and money

    Yes, the slaveholders who agitated for rebellion indeed lusted for power and money.

    European powers, driven by transnational financial interests, agitated for and were prepared to enter war in order to divide the Union and weaken an emergent USA.

    This is a non sequiter, and also historically dubious. Sure the European powers delighted in the prospect of an America divided, and initially some of them thought of intervening on the Confederacy’s behalf both to preserve their vital supply of cotton and to weaken the United States as a whole. But they remained neutral throughout the conflict.

    . In winning the war the way the war was won and with the evil military occupation following, the character of this Union was so dramatically changed that we are seeing the fruits of it today as we lose our liberties and tilt toward being absorbed by a regional politco-economic entity or worse a global one.

    A cursory glance at the history of this country in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War shows this statement to be false. Neo-Confederates often trot out this argument without demonstrating an ample connection between the Civil War and the growth of the federal government. But little changed in terms of federalism and the reach of the government until the Progressive era, particularly the New Deal. It was the post New Deal Court that did much of the damage to our original constitutional constraints, not the Civil War.

  • The Federal government shrank back to where it was approximately before the Civil War after the Civil War. For example, the US Army in 1875 consisted of some 25,000 troops, an insignificant increase from the 16,000 in 1860. Paul is correct that the permanent growth in the size and scope of the Federal government was a 20th Century phenomenon.

    “and it could have been done for less cost in blood and treasure.”

    Lincoln was in favor of compensated emancipation both prior to the War and during the War. The slaveholders of the South had zero interest in surrendering their slaves for compensation.

    “neither did the Founders”

    Actually the Founders, including the slave holding Founding Fathers, thought that slavery was wrong and that it soon would die out. That is why they took such anti-slavery initiatives as banning slavery in the NorthWest Territory and banning the international slave trade as of 1808 in the Constitution. Many of the Founding Fathers took the lead in their states of efforts to ban slavery. Many of the slave owning Founding Fathers emancipated some of their slaves with Washington freeing all of his slaves in his will and providing them legacies in his will to train them in trades so they could support themselves and their families. The Founding Fathers did not envisage slavery as a permanent institution which is how it was regarded by most slave holders by 1860.

  • Author: Paul Zummo
    Comment: “He didn’t “invade” the South to end slavery. Lincoln engaged in war because several states illegally seceded.”

    AK: How is it illegal to withdraw the powers that states freely granted their creature the General government? The states were merely reclaiming that which they had agreed to part ways with so long as that power was not abused. It was not illegal because the creature cannot be the master of its creators. The states didn’t build Skynet, they created a general government to protect them, not attack them.

    “Yes, the slaveholders who agitated for rebellion indeed lusted for power and money.”

    AK: Sure, the slaveholders were the elite and the wealthy, but rubes compared to the Yankee bankers from New York. The lust for power has always been the motive of men with no God, no country and only the desire for more. As bad as the small percentage of Southerners who owned slaves may have been, they are minor players compared to the WASP Yankee-British New York/New England elite.

    “This is a non sequiter, and also historically dubious. Sure the European powers delighted in the prospect of an America divided, and initially some of them thought of intervening on the Confederacy’s behalf both to preserve their vital supply of cotton and to weaken the United States as a whole. But they remained neutral throughout the conflict.”

    AK: None of them expected Lee to win as often and for as long as he did. First Manassas was supposed to have been the whole war. In any event, if they couldn’t divide the USA, they would take us apart more slowly.

    “A cursory glance at the history of this country in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War shows this statement to be false. Neo-Confederates often trot out this argument without demonstrating an ample connection between the Civil War and the growth of the federal government. But little changed in terms of federalism and the reach of the government until the Progressive era, particularly the New Deal. It was the post New Deal Court that did much of the damage to our original constitutional constraints, not the Civil War.”

    How do we think we ‘progressed’ into the progressive era? The example of Washington actually forcing its demands on sovereign states served as an even more powerful threat than the initial invasion of the Confederacy. How do you think they got Congress to authorize the several trillion dollars used in the bailouts, TARP, etc. beginning late 2008? They threatened martial law, which is essentially war on the American people, just like the War for Southern Independence/of Northern Aggression. I think it is naive of you to dismiss this and I would suggest instead of always attacking me as Neo-Confederate, perhaps you should check your own paradigm. After all, as Catholics we should be seeking the truth and we know that we are flawed, yet we cannot pretend the principalities and powers of this present darkness do not exist. They most certainly do and they usually operate unseen and most of them are invisible.

  • In regard to the expansion of the Federal government in the 20th century AK, the White Democrats who had a monopoly on political power there until the Sixties were nomally cheering it on. The only problem they had with the expansion of the power and scope of the Feds tended to be when the Feds began enforcing civil rights for blacks. The idea that but for the Civil War there would have been no expansion in the power of the Federal government is simply a myth. The Confederate government during the Civil War, as a war measure, took on supervision of the economy of the South to an extent not reached by the Federal government until World War II. The thing that distinguished North and South was not a different view of the role of the Federal government, but a different view of slavery. The Civil War of the 19th century has nothing to do with the expansion of the Federal government in the 20th century.

  • European powers, driven by transnational financial interests, agitated for and were prepared to enter war in order to divide the Union and weaken an emergent USA.

    During the Civil War, the only European power that mattered was Britain, given both her matchless fleet and proximity to the conflict. The closest the Union came to war with Britain was over the Trent Affair, and that was smoothed over by the good offices of the Prince Consort, Albert, who talked the British government away from the war drums. There were segments of British elite opinion that were pro-Confederacy, but they were more than counterbalanced by pro-Union sentiment both in the elites and amongst the working class. The latter of which were pro-Union almost to a man, even in the mills of Lancashire. The issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation shifted sentiments in an even more pro-Union sentiment in Britain, and pretty well ended talk of intervention.

    Yes, Napoleon III’s France was, if anything, more pro-Confederate, but lacked the military wherewithal to do anything decisive without British acquiescence.

    Imperial Russia made pro-Union noises, and even a couple of highly publicized naval visits to Union ports, but this was likely motivated more by interests in pulling Britain’s nose than anything else. Still, Tsar Alexander II, the liberator of the serfs, stated his approval of emancipation, and his opinion counted more than anyone else’s in Russia.

  • In regard to the expansion of the Federal government in the 20th century AK, the White Democrats who had a monopoly on political power there until the Sixties were nomally cheering it on.

    Especially white *southern* Democrats, who were, racial issues aside, quite progressive. Huey Long didn’t emerge like Athena from the brow of Zeus–he was the culmination of a long line of populist white Democrats (James Vardaman, Theodore Bilbo) who were quite in favor of governmental solutions.

  • Er, yeah–“monopoly on political power there” would pretty much mean the South, making my initial clause rather…repetitive. Sorry for the reading incomprehension.

  • “He didn’t “invade” the South to end slavery. Lincoln engaged in war because several states illegally seceded.”

    Secession may not have been morally justifiable under those particular circumstances, but “illegal” is quite a stretch. In fact, it’s nothing more than an ex post facto appraisal by the victorious side. Had the South won the war, the “legality” of secession would have been rendered in the other direction. The only thing that made the American Revolution “legal”, for example, was its success; had the venture turned out differently, history would have recorded it as an illegal insurrection in which all the treasonous ring leaders were hanged.

    But even apart from whether it was “legal” or morally justifiable for the South to secede, that is a different question from whether it was morally justifiable for Lincoln to make war against the populations of those Southern states out of some Manifest Destiny notion of the The United States of America One and Indivisible in Perpetuity, World Without End, Amen. I conclude that it was not, and that Lincoln’s decision to wage war actually expanded the secession crisis by pushing states like Virginia into the arms of the secessionists.

    Of course, my friend Paul and I have had this debate before, and neither of us is ever going to change the other’s mind.

Kitler Kitties

Sunday, May 29, AD 2011

 

Hattip to commenter Stephen E. Dalton who brought my attention to the phenomenon of cats that look like Hitler.  I love this!  Too often Hitler, murderous little jumped up thug, is elevated into being some sort of grand demonic personification of evil.  This is precisely the wrong way to remember the psychopath and the movement he led.  Far better to make him into a clownish figure and condemn him throughout history with laughter and ridicule. 

Continue reading...

13 Responses to Kitler Kitties

  • First time I really realized that Nazis had been humans was when some uncles started talking about my grandfather’s job in the military– he’d been a prison guard after WWII. One of the prisoners was an amazing artist is how it came up, I think. (I get the impression that the Nazis he’d been set to guard were the lowbies that had been forced in, and were just waiting for it to be proven; who knows how much that was cleaned up for young ears.)

    Before that, they were The Big Major Villains. The only live action thing I saw that made fun of them was Indiana Jones. Everything else, they were POWERFUL. Not a really good thing to emphasize when they also had some very impressive uniforms, you know? Mockery is much better; I remember one book made fun of their stupid looking marching style.

    The Downfall parodies are the shrieking Hitler with subtitles that people use for “Hitler hears about the new video game patch” stuff, yes?

  • Don, I’m glad I brought some heilarity into your life with Der Kitlers! The Producers is one of my favorite movies too. I also get a bang out of all those Downfall parodies. My favorite is the Bin Laden one.

  • I and the furhairs thank you Stephen! 🙂

  • In the “did-you-know-department,” Werner’s father, Otto, the famous German conductor, was born Jewish, converted to Catholicism and then back to Judaism toward the end of his life. Don, this belies your notion “once a Catholic always a Catholic.”

  • Bad example Joe. Poor Otto suffered two near miss assassination attempts during the rise of the Nazis and was mentally unbalanced thereafer. RIP to his tormented soul.

  • OK, Don, try these on for size”

    Tim Pawlenty — Raised Catholic, now evangelical.
    Sarah Palin — converted as young child to non-denominational Protestant.
    Steve Allen, George Carlin, Omar Sharif, Joyce Carol Oates — all become agnostic or atheist after raised as Catholics.
    And, many, many more…perhaps the most famous being, of course:
    MARTIN LUTHER.

    Well?

  • …why are you letting this guy derail the comments?

  • Sorry, didn’t mean to threadjack if you were referring to me. Don opened the door a crack on Klemperer. Mea culpa, fox.

  • Martin Luther was obsessed with Catholicism all of his life Joe, as any one can attest who has read his ravings, er, writings. He never left the Church he went to war with it, which is two separate things. Ditto as to the late unfunny sad man George Carlin.

    Pawlenty, Shariff and Oates aren’t done with their lives yet. Let’s see how things develop by the end.

    Sarah Palin-I don’t believe she was ever truly a Catholic Joe due to the negligence of her parents and therefore I would not count her as a fallen away Catholic. In any case her life is not done yet.

    As to Steve Allen he was a work in progress at the time of his death. Born a Catholic, he became a secular humanist after divorce ended his first marriage. Later in life he described himself as an involved Presbyterian. In his last interview before his life came to a sudden end from an auto accident he said the following:

    “I assume there’s a God because I can’t figure out how anything, much less the whole universe, could have gotten here with no cause at all.”

  • Foxfier, I have a soft spot in my heart and head for Joe the Agnostic, but you are correct that the thread needs to get back on the track. Back to Kitler Kitties for all further comments!

  • Don, your ability to thrust and parry is unrivaled. Joe the Agnostic; nice ring, almost as good as Joe the Plumber ; )

Joyce Kilmer’s Memorial Day

Sunday, May 29, AD 2011

“Dulce et decorum est”

The bugle echoes shrill and sweet,
But not of war it sings to-day.
The road is rhythmic with the feet
Of men-at-arms who come to pray.

The roses blossom white and red
On tombs where weary soldiers lie;
Flags wave above the honored dead
And martial music cleaves the sky.

Above their wreath-strewn graves we kneel,
They kept the faith and fought the fight.
Through flying lead and crimson steel
They plunged for Freedom and the Right.

May we, their grateful children, learn
Their strength, who lie beneath this sod,
Who went through fire and death to earn
At last the accolade of God.

In shining rank on rank arrayed
They march, the legions of the Lord;
He is their Captain unafraid,
The Prince of Peace . . . Who brought a sword. 

 

Joyce Kilmer

Continue reading...

2 Responses to Joyce Kilmer’s Memorial Day

29 Responses to Battle Hymn of the Republic

  • As I recall, inspiration for the first verse or stanza came (or seems to have come) from Revelation 14:17-20 and Wisdom 5:21-22:

    “And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”

    “And he will sharpen his severe wrath for a spear, and the whole world shall fight with him against the unwise. Then shafts of lightning shall go directly from the clouds, as from a bow well bent, they shall be shot out, and shall fly to the mark.”

  • Howe thought of the song as her humble contribution to the war effort:

    “I distinctly remember that a feeling of discouragement came over me as I drew near the city of Washington at the time already mentioned. I thought of the women of my acquaintance whose sons or husbands were fighting our great battle; the women themselves serving in the hospitals, or busying themselves with the work of the Sanitary Commission. My husband, as already said, was beyond the age of military service, my eldest son but a stripling; my youngest was a child of not more than two years. I could not leave my nursery to follow the march of our armies, neither had I the practical deftness which the preparing and packing of sanitary stores demanded. Some thing seemed to say to me, ‘You would be glad to serve, but you cannot help any one; you have nothing to give, and there is nothing for you to do.’ Yet, because of my sincere desire, a word was given me to say, which did strengthen the hearts of those who fought in the field and of those who languished in the prison.”

    The words to the song came to her in a sudden rush of inspiration, perhaps even divine inspiration according to Howe. That claim would seem at first blush a bit much, although I have no doubt that the Hand of God is often influencing us throughout all of our lives in ways that we have little inkling of this side of the grave.

  • 1. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is fine as long as you understand you have made the decision to tick (I started to use a more descriptive word) people off.

    2. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is fine as long as you are a Unitarian, like its author, who feels the distinction between the Union Army and God Himself is too subtle to be important.

  • Some people need to be ticked off.

    Perhaps God did use the Union Army to accomplish His purposes. After all, the slaves were freed.

  • The so-called “Battle Hymn” is a blood-thristy, violent song that does not deserve the praise of Christian men and women. Go to http://www.confederateamericanpride.com/battlehymn.html and read about who Julia Ward Howe really was, a hypocritical, foam at the mouth, fanatical radical who would have been quite at home with the radicals of the 1960’s.

  • Stephen,

    Wikipedia has certainly sanitized Julia Howe’s biography:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Ward_Howe

    But the “About.com” web site seems more balanced (it references the Secret Six who were convinced by John Brown to bankroll his efforts which ended at Harper’s Ferry):

    http://womenshistory.about.com/od/howejuliaward/a/about_julia_ward_howe.htm (lot’s of sublinks here)

    Interestingly enough, she had a hand in founding Mother’s Day:

    http://womenshistory.about.com/od/howejuliaward/a/julia_ward_howe_4_mothers_day.htm

    Like most people, she wasn’t all good and she wasn’t all bad, but her badness could be very bad indeed.

    I’ve always liked but now have mixed feelings about the Battle Hymn of the Republic, having read the information at the web site that you provided.

    🙁

  • Pingback: SATURDAY EVENING EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • Thank you Stephen for pointing out that big steaming pile of congealed nonsense written by Mr. Jones. It gives me reason to sing the Battle Hymn of the Republic extra lustily tomorrow at Mass!

  • It should be remembered and taught in schools (although it is neither) that the Catholic Church was against setting the slaves free wholesale, simply turning them loose to fend for themselves without education or direction or any of the necessary skills to participate in society as equals. The church warned that unless the slave were given these basic necessities they would be enslaved by poverty generated by their new conditions without anything but their backs to provide for themselves and their children. Well, the politicians did not listen to the Wisdom of the Church, as they never do, (largely because 99% of them were Protestants) and we got exactly what the Church predicted: slums and poverty that haunts our nation to this day. The industrial north got exactly what they wanted, all the material wealth of the south (bought with the lives of others while they made $ making weapons and other provisions necessary to wage war) and undermined the labor force with the influx of ‘slave labor’ so no one could make a livable wage in their factories and the Industrial Revolution burned hotter and deadlier than ever and the scars of this injustice will plague this nation to our grave. The Church insisted that the slave be given human dignity and their families kept whole and not bought and sold like livestock; properly attended and prepared for ‘freedom’, not merely tossed out on the street without the means to participate in our civilization as true equals. We had stolen peoples from Africa and enslaved and treated them like cattle for generations; the Church reminded us that we owned them more than ‘freedom’ which was in reality abandonment and betrayal. But our compulsory schools systems continue to teach the illusion and the lie and even the African American rarely understands how they were cheated and used as pawns in the industrial game of greed and manipulation. We are brainwashed to think the South was this evil bunch of whiplashing tyrants and the North was the heroic saviors of the oppressed. The Truth is much more complicated and it was really only the Catholic Church who saw the situation for what it really was and spoke the Truth for humanity, but as usual, national and private interests fomented by greed ruled the day, and the Civil War was nothing but a dreadful infection upon the face of our nation: It produced nothing good. It killed and maimed hundreds of thousands, destroyed the culture and prosperity of the South, undermined the working class citizen’s ability to earn a livable wage, increased the wealth of the already filthy rich in the North who had no morals or concern for anyone but their own pockets, and it threw the African/negro slave into a worse position than he had been before, all in the name of righteousness and liberty. But politicians had worked this same poisonous art with the American Indian and we had sharpened our skills at treason and double dealing on them in the previous generation. This nation of ours will continue to suffer and diminish as long as we continue to refuse to see the sins of our past, as we will continue to be victims of our ignorance and the filthy rich power brokers will continue to throw the common citizen under the bus for his personal temporal gain. But we will not learn nor repent, because the school system here has been commandeered by Industry and the almighty Corporation to generate a new breed of ‘slaves’. And the new slave will serve his amoral corporate master without question or hesitation. And if we look back to the source of this ruinous cycle at the bottom of every evil inflicted upon the Western World we find the Reformation was the toxic catalyst that made it all possible and perpetuated the continued destruction of our civilization.
    All this was probably scrolling through the Pope’s mind while sitting there listening. But he is a patient man and a man who knows very well that the author of the song, the singers themselves, even the President and his wife didn’t really have a clue about the real origins of the song they were singing for him. I love the song too; I play it at Mass on the violin, but it’s tangled up in a distorted history of the human condition that is plagued by the seven deadly sins. Abe Lincoln was a good man, no doubt, but he was as ignorant to the manipulations of the power brokers as most people and was the perfect tool for their selfish plans. I fear this is the fate of most Presidents and other national leaders……….to be pawns like the rest of us. As long as we refuse to listen to the Wisdom of the eternal Church we will always have a place for the ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’, as we will always be killing each other.

  • I have always loved the Battle Hymn of the Republic – as it speaks so aptly to the True Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, in that, he defends the oppressed and sets those in bondage Free. As should we, who dare call ourselves Christians. We are never more Christ-like than we are defending the vulnerable and innocent defenseless — it is then that the Light of Christ shines eternally in all of us.
    Thank you, Mr. McClarey, for reminding us of the Passion that burns within the heart of Our Savior for each of us and His desire to set us Free from the slavery of our sins.
    I am ever thankful for those who Serve, laying down their own lives and creature comforts so that we may remain a Free nation. May we never forget their sacrifice.

  • Wow, Paul, that was good.

    I would clarify, however, that it isn’t so much the free market system (a term you did not use) that failed us, but the greed and hubris of corporate socialism that has successfully manipulated us in our blindness. The system was never free market. Indeed, the system was never free (a point, I think, you aptly make).

    Regards,

    The other Paul

  • Paul, virtually none of what you wrote is historically accurate. Popes had condemned slavery in general terms over the centuries. However, the Church in America was almost completely silent in regard to slavery in this country prior to the Civil War. No such gradual emancipation policy that you say the Church was for was actually enunciated by any ecclesiastics in this country. History is not infinitely malleable and it is not a matter of let’s pretend. It is a matter of facts, whether we like them or not. The hard truth is that the Church in this country did not lead a fight against slavery, except for a very few priests in the North who were abolitionists. Some religious orders and clergy owned slaves in the South, and the Church said not a word. When it came to the fight against slavery in this country, tragically, most members of the Church were MIA or on the wrong side.

    “The industrial north got exactly what they wanted, all the material wealth of the south (bought with the lives of others while they made $ making weapons and other provisions necessary to wage war) and undermined the labor force with the influx of ‘slave labor’ so no one could make a livable wage in their factories and the Industrial Revolution burned hotter and deadlier than ever and the scars of this injustice will plague this nation to our grave.”

    This passage illustrates how far from actual history you are. There was no great influx of black populations from the South to the North to work in industries during the Civil War or in the 19th Century. That occurred from 1910-1930, with a second wave of migration during World War II. The South had almost totally missed the boat on industrialization prior to the Civil War. After the Civil War the South was held back economically primarily as a result of pathetically bad race relations due to the attempt of white politicians, supported by most whites, to disenfranchise blacks and keep them as fifth class citizens. Saying that this was as a result of evil Northern Industrialists is simply tin foil hat fantasy.

  • Alas, I have been duped again.

    😉

    But what the other Paul wrote certainly seemed good.

  • Pope Benedict will shortly celebrate the 60th anniversary of his ordination.

    We should remember him in our prayers.

    What Paul above wrote seems pretty close to whatever Copperheads and Dems believed, i.e., abolitionists were mainly plutocratic capitalists/industrialists that would employ freed men to increase the labor supply, would work for less, and cut everbody’s wages.

    Hey, 150 years later and Dems still hate, and lie about, rich people!

  • In grade school, some 70 years ago, I became acquainted with a possibly parody version that starts:
    “John Brown’s body lies a-molderin’ in the grave; (repeat 2x)
    But his soul goes marchin’ on.”
    Anyone know where that version came from? It obviously follows the raid on Harper’s Ferry, and the hanging of John Brown.
    TeaPot562

  • Donald,
    I wasn’t speaking of the “church in this country”, as you put it, as if the Church was a different and separate institution from the rest of the Universal church, nor some instant migration of blacks to the north as a result of unprepared/forced emancipation, as if the freed slave had the means for such a migration to begin with. I think you missed the point completely. The south didn’t “miss the boat on industrialization” either. It wasn’t part of the culture of the south and they really weren’t interested in it to begin with, so they didn’t “miss” anything and were very prosperous and satisfied with ‘the boat’ they had chosen. The “church in this country” wasn’t particularly strong at this time in history, (our oldest dioceses is now barely 150 years old!) so they didn’t have much ability to voice the Church’s official position. We were a Protestant nation almost completely at the time of the Civil War. I’m not defending either north or south, as you seem to think I am defending the south. The point is that we are taught a very biased and distorted version of history propagated by the victors, and as is usual the victors have made it all in their favor; putting them in a glorious light while showing their adversaries as totally unjustified in their position. You claiming that “virtually none of what I wrote is historically accurate” doesn’t make your case nor change the reality of the facts. What I wrote is true, whether it fits your version/comprehension of historical events or not. Your concept of history has been shaped by that same version propagated by the victors I spoke of above.
    Simply because a few catholic clerics owned slaves, something I have to take your word for, isn’t proof of the church’s official position on the matter anymore than a few priests supporting the ordaining of women is a proof of the Church’s official position on the ordaining of women. The Church’s official position was that the slave was to be treated with the dignity of any other human being and the family unit of the slave be given respect and the family members not be sold off without respect for the families themselves. As for the south treating the African race as 5th class citizens as you say, it was little better in the north until recently, and the devastation of the south was a very large part of the south’s lagging behind the north economically. As with any defeated nation, war takes many, many years to recover from the effects. I doubt any credible historian would place ‘bad race relations’ as the primary reason the south wasn’t economically competitive with the north after the Civil War as you have here: Certainly not above the fact that the south had just been defeated and largely devastated by the north. You may have read a few text books Don, but the truth isn’t always well represented in text books. I never claimed the northern industrialist were all evil either, nor were all southern slave owners. Relations between most slave owners and their slaves were generally very good and a solid majority of the slaves were not interested in being forced out of this relationship and tossed onto the street. We use the example of those who abused and oppressed as a boilerplate description of the general circumstances in the south, but again, this is bad history propagated by the victors.
    The African slave was generally much worse off after he was ‘set free’ than they had been before the war. This was just as the Church had warned. They had lost all security and were left to fend for themselves without the skills and preparation to integrate into society, and this was a huge injustice to them. This was my point, Donald.

  • Actually the first catholic diocese was in Maryland, 1789. But this link http://archstl.org/archives/page/catholic-church-usa will show you my point that the Catholic Church was very small indeed during that time leading up to and during the Civil War, in spite of the fact that Catholicism was the first western religion to be established here.

  • Donald, before you go putting the Church in any worse light than you have in this case, (which may be difficult even for you), read this link: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14036a.htm You have a very common and distorted concept of the Church’s position on slavery in this country. I’m sorry to inform you that the historical facts are not on your side as you think they are. BTW, if the Church was largely ‘MIA’ on this issue here in the US, it was because the Church was almost none existent here at the time of these events. You should be more careful about the charges you make against the Catholic Church in the future. You will give many the wrong impression of the Church due to your lack of accurate historical knowledge.

  • Donald,
    Here is another link to educate you in the Truth about the Catholic Church’s position regarding slavery.
    http://www.cfpeople.org/Apologetics/page51a003.html

  • TeaPot, “John Brown’s Body” predates “Battle Hymn” by several years and apparently was at least a partial inspiration to Julia Ward Howe when she wrote “Battle Hymn.” Both she and her husband, Samuel Howe, were active abolititionists and Samuel Howe is said to have been part of a secret group that funded Brown’s (what we today might call terrorist) activities.

    Both songs use an even older folk melody, commonly sung at camp meetings or revivals, known as “Canaan’s Happy Shore” or “Brothers, Will You Meet Me”?

    The tune itself has also been used for the labor anthem “Solidarity Forever,” for the U.S. Army paratrooper song “Blood on the Risers,” as a fight song for the Georgia Bulldogs, and as a rallying song for British and Australian football/rugby/soccer teams.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Battle_Hymn_of_the_Republic

  • “TeaPot, “John Brown’s Body” predates “Battle Hymn” by several years and apparently was at least a partial inspiration to Julia Ward Howe when she wrote “Battle Hymn.””

    “John Brown’s Body” was a piece of doggerel originally about a Union volunteer named John Brown and had nothing to do with the John Brown who was hanged at Harper’s Ferry. The song became catchy with Union soldiers and had verses attached to it applicable to the famous John Brown. This was in 1861. Howe heard this song and used it as the basis for the Battle Hymn of the Republic which she wrote in 1862.

  • Paul, in reference to the condemnation by the Popes in regard to slavery, I know that and have written about it. You might find this post and the comment thread enlightening:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/04/16/using-religon-to-defend-slavery/

    However, Catholics in this country, including clergy, by and large simply accepted slavery as a fact of life. To educate yourself on this painful subject, go to the link below to read about the plantations owned by the Jesuits in Maryland where hundreds of slaves were used. The Jesuits switched to free labor in 1838, however the slaves were not emancipated, but were sold.

    http://www8.georgetown.edu/departments/americanstudies/jpp/

    Some Northern Catholic clerics began to speak out against slavery during the Civil War, most notably the Archbishop of Cincinatti John Baptist Purcell. Here is a link below to an account by the New York Times of a speech he gave on the subject in 1863:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1863/11/08/news/a-catholic-bishop-on-the-slavery-question-an-address-by-archbishop-purcell.html

  • Donald,
    You seem to be missing my point intentionally, or I have failed to get it across. The point is this: The actions of a few Catholic clergy or orders in the New World were NOT representative of the Universal Church’s Official position on slavery. The Catholic Church was a very small and largely suppressed organization here in the US prior to and during the time of the Civil War. As for the Jesuits in Maryland selling the slaves under their care, what would you have them freed into? They had no property, no means of participating in society. Were the Jesuits, in their mercy, supposed to simply open the front gate of the plantation and kick them out saying, ‘You’re free, go and prosper in your bright future. Good Luck!’? I’m pretty sure this would have been a terrible injustice, don’t you think? The Church thought it would be an injustice too. If the Jesuits sold their slaves instead of simply turning them loose, I have no doubt the intentions were that they were well placed and cared for in their new home. Their future was much more secure and comfortable than the alternative on the mean streets without means.
    One must remember a couple of things: First that we can’t use our modern concept of justice and what is acceptable now as a template for understanding any given time in the past. This is very bad historical perspective and will never give anyone an accurate view of the time period in question. (Yet this seems to be to normal mode for modern historians writing text books). Second, and this goes hand-in-hand with the first point, one must understand the nature of ‘Slavery’ as a genus with several subspecies of slavery under this general category. All slavery was not intrinsically evil, and it was a matter of fact that the slave was often a valuable and happy member of the household living a productive life as such.
    Many times the slave was not interested in emancipation. The slavery of the pagans was a different species than that of the Israelites/Jews for example. Both were called ‘slavery’, however, the former was a brutal injustice where the latter served justice. If the Catholic clergy or institution you mention owned slaves what evidence do you have that they abused them in any way? What evidence do you have that the slaves wanted emancipation? What possible alternative did the Jesuits have that would have better served the slaves in question? I have little doubt that the slaves there under Jesuit care were apprehensive about their future without the Jesuits!
    It is also worth pointing out that the real issue wasn’t slaves working for their daily bread, as we all must do (and this was much more the reality in early 19th century America where there wasn’t an abundance of charitable institutions (thanks to the suppression of the catholic Church) and social programs to ‘lean on’), It was more the nature of the slave trade that enslaved whole races and subjected them to relocation, broken families and brutal conditions against their will. Once the ‘slave’ was here in the New World there weren’t many options for them. They had no means or skills to enter ‘modern civilization’ as equals. That’s the cold reality, Donald. But they were here, very many of them, and they had to be considered into the future of this nation, as they could not simply be deported back to a land and way of life that was totally alien to them now. The Church pressed for them to be educated and prepared for ‘freedom’ as the only just course for the future.
    You may not know this Donald, but no one was interested in giving the newly freed slave any land to work or anything else necessary for survival to say nothing of a prosperous future. The States were angling against the Federal Government and the Native Americans were caught in the middle being squeezed off their lands. The Indians weren’t big fans of the slaves being given their lands either.
    This was a completely different time than our own Donald, and you would be well served to remember that. Slavery was, in fact, a part of life. Your views are distorted by your modern perspective of the conditions as they were on the ground during this time. The slaves were here, they could not be sent back to a home that was now alien and would have amounted to a death sentence. They were not going to get free lands during a time where the land in their area was already under extreme pressure between the States, the Federal Government and the Native population. The Church reminded us that we had a humanitarian responsibility for these people as we had created the conditions in the first place. So what is your answer Donald? Just wage war to turn them out into the street, as the power brokers behind the political leaders/pawns did? The only people who gained from the Civil War were the only people who ever gain from armed conflict—the wealthy power brokers. Follow the money Donald, always follow the money. Stop blaming the Catholic Church for working within the given reality of the conditions at hand, conditions you seem unable or unwilling to comprehend.
    Also remember that the Church’s primary mission is ministry to, for the sake of eternal salvation of, the eternal human soul; not simply providing for the body within which that eternal soul resides. Eternal Salvation was/is no less attainable from the bottom of the social ladder (slave) than from the top (slave owner). In fact it is often far more attainable from the bottom where one need not worry about driving that darn camel through the eye of that darn needle.
    The bottom line is that the Catholic Church did as much as was within Her power in this situation, sadly that power was very limited in a firmly Protestant Nation. It is interesting that Canada and Mexico had no such dark past involving the Slavery. Perhaps that’s because the Catholic Church had much more authority in these nations which were much more Catholic in the first place. The Catholic Church was allowed to perform Her chartered Christian missions in these new lands, and the natives of these nations were the beneficiaries of that Universal Mission that has served humanity for nearly 2000 years now and has been solely responsible for the development of the greatest achievement in human history—Western Civilization. Civilization is always best served when the Church is unobstructed in fulfilling the Charter She was given by Jesus Christ Himself. That mission seeks first the Kingdom of God for the benefit of the Eternal human soul. When the body is served first, as is always the case with secular government institutions, nothing is served well, least of all humanity. Look around Donald and tell me I’m wrong.
    I hope I’ve finally made my original point clear enough, as I will not participate in a ‘tit-for-tat’ squabbling session that often happens in these ‘blogging’ venues. Life’s too short to waste it arguing with people who think they know everything already. We might both be accused of that;)))

  • Oh, your point was quite clear Paul. Stripped of your excessive verbiage it was an attempt to get around the very inconvenient fact for Neo-Confederates that the Civil War was all about slavery, which the Confederate states were quite explicit about at the beginning of the War. Your meaning is quite plain in your first lengthy missive in this passage:

    “We are brainwashed to think the South was this evil bunch of whiplashing tyrants and the North was the heroic saviors of the oppressed. The Truth is much more complicated and it was really only the Catholic Church who saw the situation for what it really was and spoke the Truth for humanity, but as usual, national and private interests fomented by greed ruled the day, and the Civil War was nothing but a dreadful infection upon the face of our nation: It produced nothing good. It killed and maimed hundreds of thousands, destroyed the culture and prosperity of the South, undermined the working class citizen’s ability to earn a livable wage, increased the wealth of the already filthy rich in the North who had no morals or concern for anyone but their own pockets, and it threw the African/negro slave into a worse position than he had been before, all in the name of righteousness and liberty. ”

    You of course have no actual historical evidence to fall back on to support your thesis, not a particle of which is true, so you engage in extensive bloviation when challenged as a substitute, and are unable, and unwilling, to come to terms with the actual historical record. Par for the course when defenders of the Lost Cause engage in this type of debate with someone very familiar with the historical record.

  • Pacem Paul and Mac.

    No sense refighting the war.

    Points of information (Roberts’ Rules of Order):

    One: The Emancipation was not proclaimed until the war was flagrant nearly 2 years: after much bloodshed including Antietam and Fredricksburg.

    Two: Except for politicians and radicals, the soldier probably did not believe ending slavery justified civil war or murder.

    Three: War is all Hell. No one wins. There are fatigue, suffering and glory (Sherman’s definition). Although, it “beats” malignant melanoma . . .

  • T. Shaw the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by Lincoln in order to help win the war which it did. The Confederate goverment responded by condemning the Proclamation, and ordering in retaliation that all white officers leading black troops be executed and that the black troops they led either be enslaved or executed.

    Most Union troops in the early years of the war fought only to preserve the Union and not to end slavery. By the end of the war a solid majority of Union troops were in favor of both goals, as signaled by the Union soldier vote in 1864 breaking heavily for Lincoln.

    There are far worse things than the hell on Earth which is war as accurately described by Sherman. Slavery is one of these things, and another one was the breakup of our Union.

  • Ah, the pleasure some people get tearing other people apart. I personally never met Ms. Howe, so I have no opinion of her. And furthermore, my mother was born in Mobile, AL and my dad in Pipestone, MN. That said, I have always and will always love the Battle Hymn of the Republic–period, end of report, as my dad was famous for saying. To each his own, but it sure is hateful to be so mean to someone who is dead.

  • Goodbye Paul. You are banned from this website. I have given you ample opportunity to make your case and in your latest contribution you resort to name calling. Go elsewhere to make your longwinded defense of slavery and the Confederacy.

20 Responses to Cat Maternal Love Open Thread

  • A most horrific day as a mother was when, after taking in strays, we drove into the garage after school to see a mother cat eating her newborns. I told the kids they were mice. Ugh. I don’t like cats. I may yell sometimes, but…

  • Nice way to destroy the mood of the video Stacy! 🙂

    Mother cats normally eat newborns if they are dead or they sense they will die. It is probably a survival instinct bred into them to avoid having predators drawn to the kitten’s corpse and end up attacking the mother cat or live kittens.

  • Mother cats usually don’t do what Stacy observes unless, as Donald indicated, something is really very wrong with the kittens.

    I have two cats – Worf (a 15 year old named after the Klingon Security Office on the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D because he eats like a Klingon) and Gabby (a two and a half year old who thinks she is as angelic as the Angel Gabriel). I have always had cats. Worf was with me before my marriage and after my ex left me, Worf is still with me some 15 years later.

    I would trust cats over humans any day of the week.

  • An interesting fact about cats is that, so far as science can dig into such things, they appear to be the only species which domesticated themselves rather than being domesticated by humans. This seems to fit pretty well with the feline personality. At some point, cats simply realized that hanging around with humans and eating the pests that were attracted to the human settlements was a better deal than living on their own. Humans then made the deal better by deciding to cuddle them and generally treat them as minor deities.

    And really, I can’t object. Any housepet which can be trained to go only in a litter box with minimal work is a winner in my book — and doubly so when they also do handy things like hunt and eat the Giant Flying Cockroaches of Texas.

  • Cats look down on you, dogs look up to you and pigs treat you like an equal!

    Winston Churchill

  • This is so sweet! Thanks for sharing! I am a cat lover and all the cats I have had (from childhood to mature adulthood) tend to be exceptionally affectionate. Most cats are also good company and seem to be very concerned when their owner is sick. My cat, Jazzy (Jasmine Marie) is the best “nurse” I have ever had. She gives free massages and blocks out irritating noises (dog barking in the neighborhood) with her purring. She wakes me up in the morning by licking my nose or tickling me with her whiskers. She is equally as affectionate with my husband, massaging his tummy (and exercising it at the same time) and keeping his legs warm at night. She is also sort of a “religious” cat — always joining us in bed for night prayers. 🙂

  • What a sweet video!

    I love cats in theory. My cat, Max- whom I do love dearly in spite of it all- has soured me on them, though. He is an albino American long haired, with one blue eye and one yellow. He is absolutely gorgeous and at the same time is pure evil incarnate. He is just a mean, spiteful cat. I would like to say that his previous owners made him that way, as they were nuts and a half, but we’ve had him for eleven years and he’s not changed one bit. Still just as mean as the day we got him.

  • Don, I’m sorry. 🙁 It was a bad experience among many with cats! That video is so cute though. We’ve had many kittens born in our garage because of the strays we took in and by far the mother cat usually is so attentive. Love the Churchill quote!

  • I’m a devout Cat-holic myself and have owned, or more precisely been owned, by several cats in the past 🙂 When I was a kid our family had a beautiful, sweet-tempered calico named Fluffy, of whom my mom once said, “If there was such a thing as cat sainthood, she would qualify.”

  • By the way, the Holy Father himself figures prominently in this list of famous cat lovers:

    http://www.xmission.com/~emailbox/cat_lovers.htm

  • I was just kidding you Stacy! 🙂 In regard to Churchill, he and his family always surrounded themselves with hordes of animals at Chartwell, their country estate, so he spoke with authority on the subject!

    “I’m a devout Cat-holic myself”

    Seven hail Marys for that one Elaine! I am afraid that I am allergic to cats, atlhough growing up my family had a few. My daughter can imitate cats with uncanny precision and her friends claim she is part cat. When she came into this world, and this is the sober truth, her little cries sounded so much like the mewlings of a kitten that my wife, who couldn’t see her, wondered aloud if a cat had gotten into the operating room!

  • We have a cat and a dog. There are advantages to both species. But major cat negative is that he pees on the bed when we have guests. Doesn’t like guests. We have to be very adamant about informing our guests to keep the door to their room closed. Sometimes they forget and it’s gross. We have waterproof covers on every bed in the house now just in case. If anyone knows a remedy short of cat murder let me know. Nothing says “welcome to our home” like cat pee in your bed.

    Dog is just expensive b/c she needs a sitter/walker when we go out of town.

  • “My daughter can imitate cats with uncanny precision and her friends claim she is part cat. When she came into this world, and this is the sober truth, her little cries sounded so much like the mewlings of a kitten that my wife, who couldn’t see her, wondered aloud if a cat had gotten into the operating room!”

    That’s funny and must have been adorable. My son sounded like a pterodactyl. He made this awful screeching noise whenever he cried for about the first month. My husband swore I’d given birth to a dinosaur.

  • Has anyone beside Paul ever hear about Kitlers? They’re cats that resemble Hitler! Google “Kitler” and you’ll bust your gut laughing!

  • I invoke Godwin’s Law on Stephen!

    I am proud to be Chief-of-Staff of our 5 year old cat Missy. She treats us well and allows us our own beds. Thank you O Gracious and Mewling Leader!!

  • But major cat negative is that he pees on the bed when we have guests.

    Salient word is ‘he’. Males are an adventure as they periodically declare portions of the home and its contents to be their personal possessions (in this way). Females are easier.

  • A father will stand over and ahead of his family to protect them. A mother will continue cover to protect them with her body even after their birth. I bet we all can guess which is shown with the kitten. I absolutely am attracted to all portrayals of “Mother” love. Makes me think of Our Mother.

  • Darwin said:
    “only species which domesticated themselves rather than being domesticated by humans.”
    Funny, I always thought it was cats who domesticated humans 😉

  • http://animal.discovery.com/tv/my-cat-from-hell/

    We have seen this program on Animal Planet. All the above behaviours are diagnosed and solved by this guy (Jackson Galaxy) At last, we have a
    “cat-whisperer”!, an answer to prayer 🙂

3 Responses to Reagan: The Speech

  • There have only been a handful of leaders of Reagan’s ilk. When you think about it, that’s what makes him stand out. After all, if every political leader matched Reagan’s skills he wouldn’t be so special.

    That’s why it’s a bit of a mistake to constantly try to re-create the magic. You’re not always going to be able to draft the next Michael Jordan, but it isn’t so awful having the next Tim Duncan.

  • Leaders like Reagan are important in that they help raise the bar in what we expect from leaders. Too many leaders, through their acts of omission and comission, spend every waking second attempting to lower the bar of expectations, and they usually succeed in doing so.

  • ……he was the best…..he “hit the nail on the head”…when this counrty goes, the rest of the world is done……and we’re “going” fast !!!!!!! Happy Memorial Day……we probaly don’t have many left !!!!!!!!! God help us !!!!!!

    Michael S.

Meatless Fridays

Friday, May 27, AD 2011

An article in the Wall Street Journal by Francis Rocca today discusses the potential return of meatless Fridays in Great Britain.

Every year during the 40 days of Lent, millions of Catholics honor Jesus’s crucifixion by foregoing meat in their Friday meals. But starting this September, if the bishops of England and Wales have their way, Catholics there will abstain from meat every Friday, year-round. This change marks the revival of a practice that the church abandoned a half-century ago—and it’s the latest of several in recent years.

Catholic tradition calls for acts of penance every Friday, the day of Jesus’s death, but observance of that tradition has changed dramatically since the modernizing reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Bishops in most countries eliminated abstinence from meat or limited it to Lent alone, and each Catholic became free to choose his own form of Friday penance: skipping television, perhaps, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. This effectively meant the disappearance of Friday penance altogether. In my 11 years of Catholic schooling, I don’t recall hearing it mentioned once.

That’s why the announcement by the bishops of England and Wales is so significant. To anyone with a taste for sushi or smoked salmon, missing hamburger once a week might present little inconvenience. But then, lightly beating one’s breast, as Catholics do in one version of the Penitential rite during Mass, isn’t a serious form of corporal mortification either. Catholicism is a fundamentally symbolic religion whose teachings are typically embodied in conventional signs and gestures.

That last sentence is particularly intriguing.  One might quibble with Catholicism being described as a “fundamentally symbolic religion,” but there’s no doubt as to the importance of the little things that make up our identity as Catholics.  This paragraph further along in the article explains why this is all so important.

Sociologists such as Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, who study the behavior of “religious economies,” have observed that churches tend to lose vigor when they relax demands on adherents, especially those tenets and practices that cut against the grain of wider society. In economic terms, lowering the “costs” of membership in this way ends up diminishing its benefits, among other ways by loosening the bonds of community.

This is what bothers me with the Novus Ordo.  The first time I ever attended a non-Catholic Christian service (In this case Presbyterian) it felt hardly distinguishable from a Catholic Mass, although the small cups of grape juice being passed around at Communion did seem odd to me.  That’s because I had only ever attended a Novus Ordo Mass.  One of the many great things about the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is how markedly different it is from other Christian worship services.  Sure the essential elements bear strong resemblances to one another, but no one would ever walk into the middle of an traditional Latin Mass and think they were in a Lutheran church.

At any rate, I applaud the Bishops for attempting to restore this valuable tradition.  For a few years I’ve made a concerted effort to go meatless on Fridays year-round, though I confess to being not quite 100% successful in this endeavor.  It is certainly something worth pursuing.

H/t: Rich Leonardi.

Continue reading...

31 Responses to Meatless Fridays

  • I’m a new convert. I was just confirmed on Divine Mercy Sunday, but I’ve been attending Mass regularly at my local parish since September of last year. I’ve been practicing meatless Fridays since I was formally welcomed during that rite at the beginning of Advent and I really do love it. Even though it’s something rather small, having to stop and think about what I’m going to eat so that I omit meat is a reminder of my faith. It helps me prepare for Reconiliation on Saturdays and for Mass on Sundays.

    As for the NO Mass, I hope this doesn’t open up a can of worms but I actually like it. I realize that for people who grew up in the EF it’s probably a bit of a shock. But for someone like me, coming from a very long and ingrained line of Protestantism (my grandparents are still convinced that the Pope is probably the AntiChrist,which annoys me to no end) it was quite the relief coming to Mass and seeing something not totally alien to what I was used to. I know that’s a minus for a lot of traditionalists. The thing is that even though I was feeling a very strong pull from Catholic doctrine and apologetics, it took me two solid years of personal study to get up the nerve to actually set foot in a Catholic church. With criends and family telling me that I was risking my immortal soul by converting, I was terrified of making a mistake. So when I got there and was able to participate and to understand what was going on with relatively little effort, I was extremely relieved.

    The NO helped me make the jump between Protestantism and Catholicism. Now, I’m confirmed and have had both of my kids baptized into the Church. I’m taking a home-Ed course on Latin and am hoping I’ll be able to start wading into the EF Mass before too long. But given where I was before and how far I’ve come, I really don’t like to see folks totally discount the NO Mass, and I do tend to see TONS of that within the conservative Catholic blogosphere (this particular piece was very respectful in it’s comment, so I don’t mean you guys).

  • I have been making an effort to abstain from meat on Fridays too, for the last couple years.

    One of the main problems I see with suppressing meatless Fridays, was that it has not been adequately made known to people that they’re STILL SUPPOSED TO DO PENANCE on Fridays. It doesn’t have to be meat-related anymore, but it needs to be something.

    Rather than dream up my own penance, I do the meat thing. It’s a great way to practice a little self-denial on a regular basis. Keeps me in practice, so next time Lent comes around I’m not caught completely flatfooted.

  • Mandy:

    The last thing I intend to do is judge you for your opinion about the new mass. I strongly prefer the EF, but don’t hate the OF. When I re-verted to the Church in my mid-20s (about 20 years ago), I had no clear memory of the EF, and basically cut my teeth on the OF. It didn’t drive me out of the Church, so it can’t be all bad, right? (That’s a joke, of course no valid mass can be “bad” per se.)

    But at the same time, while ignorant of Catholic liturgy, I did have some expectations of what it would be like. I expected a strong sense of mystery and mysticism, reverence, and ritual strictly observed. I was ready to revel in those things. But as it turned out, they were not to be found all that often. When they were, I basked in them. Usually they weren’t.

    I’m glad that the OF was a help to you, sort of a meeting-halfway point between Protestant worship and traditional Catholic worship (if I understand you correctly). But what if we look at this from another angle?

    Should we also have mass be a meeting-halfway point between atheistic secularism and traditional Catholic worship? Use profane musical and architectural styles, so that worldly people will feel somewhat at home, until they’re ready to go “all the way”?

    It seems to me that the scriptures paint a clear dichotomy between the world and the Church. Shouldn’t the Church’s most sacred act of worship reflect that? Shouldn’t it feel like entering a completely different realm?

    Now I know that the Church has a history of adapting worldly or pagan traditions to sacred uses. But this, I believe, was usually done in the context of a mission territory, while trying to win over entire populations to Christianity. In Europe and the U.S., Catholicism is a long-established faith of a large proportion of the populace, so I’m not sure that should apply here. Moving into a never-before-Christian territory and adapting its established customs to Christian use is one thing. But moving into an established Catholic population and changing their long-established customs to better suit the non-Catholic world around them, seems to be moving in the wrong direction.

    Anyway, that’s how I see it, and I hope you can understand my point of view.

  • http://www.holytrinitypucc.org/
    http://www.ucns-holyfamily.org/
    http://www.holytransfiguration.org/

    The Melkite Eparchy publishes a helpful calendar which specifies obligations in this regard (applicable in the Byzantine-rite).

  • Agellius,

    I understand where you’re coming from. And maybe it’s different in other NO parishes, but the one I attend is still very traditional and there is quite a bit of ritual and mystery in the Mass, for me anyway. I would also point out that over half of all people in the US identify as some type of Protestant. Only about a quarter identify as Catholic. Those stats are as of 2008. So I would respectfully disagree that adapting and bringing in traditions from outside the church is necessarily a bad thing. Obviously I don’t want to make our Masses into Protestant services, or else I’d have just stayed at Protestant. But I think, in the US anyway, having something that’s not completely alien is a good thing.

    My experience with the NO is that the focus is on the Eucharist, where it should be. That by itself is radically different than a Protestant service. Protestant churches pretty exclusively make it or break it by the preacher and his sermon. If the preaching isn’t what the people of that congregation want to hear, they either can him, go to a different church, or split into a new congregation. In the Church, the homily could stink on ice, but you’ve still got Jesus there in the Eucharist, so you stay.

    There are a lot of other differences I could name as well. But my point is that the Catholic Mass that I attend each week, which is NO, is the most reverent and worshipful place I’ve ever been in my life. I was raised in church and can honestly say that I’ve never “experienced” the Lord the way I have in the Church. I never had any sense of awe or mystery until I came to the Church. So I think that people who dismiss the NO because it’s in the vernacular or the priest is facing the “wrong” way or the music isn’t Gregorian chant (not implying you did that here, just speaking to a lot of the sentiment I’ve seen online) are doing it a disservice.

  • I’d also like to say that given the demographics in the US and the fact that our culture is getting more and more secular by the day, that I think we really are in missionary territory here. I don’t think that came across as clearly as I wanted it to in my earlier post.

  • Those who bash the NO while still acknowledging its validity replace salvation with satisfying a nostalgia as the highest goal.

    As for meatless Fridays, it ironically has the potential to court far-left tree-hugging vegans. The bishops can leverage the sustainable eating craze.

  • “Those who bash the NO while still acknowledging its validity replace salvation with satisfying a nostalgia as the highest goal.”

    Rubbish. They merely recognize that the new Mass is celebrated across this great land often with all the beauty and grace of a tupperware party in a gymnasium. The sacrifice of the Mass of course is the all important factor, but where once God’s greatest gift to man was surrounded with beauty, solemnity and awe, we now have plainess verging on tacky, banality and boredom.

  • Mandy:

    I’m glad we can disagree charitably. I can certainly understand that the OF would appear quite reverent and mysterious compared with Protestant worship services. I just think it pales in comparison with the EF.

    I get your point about the U.S. being mission territory in a sense. But in a way, this begs the question. In my view, the concessions made to the surrounding culture — concessions that moved the existing established Church *away* from its own identity and towards the identity of the surrounding culture in various ways, including in its manner of worship — have actually *contributed* to making the U.S. even more of a mission territory. Meaning, of course, that mass attendance dropped, vocations to the priesthood and religious life plummeted, and dissent skyrocketed.

    I’m not blaming all those problems on the changes to the mass itself, but I contend that the mass changes were part-and-parcel of the same changes in attitude toward the Faith which led to the rest. I contend that had the Church held firm to her own identity amid the surrounding cultural tumult, many fewer Catholics might have fallen away, and indeed many who felt adrift in society might have turned to the Church as an anchor of sanity.

    That being said, certainly God can bring good out of evil. As undesirable as I think the changes to the mass were, to some people they do seem to have had some benefit (note that I’m referring to the *changes* to the mass, not the mass itself, which of course is always beneficial).

  • Agellius,

    From what I’ve learned about some of the craziness that immediately followed VII, I can understand why some people are so vehemently against the OF. And I think there’s a sort-of nostalgia for the “good old days” amongst the more hardcore EF people I’ve come across that is fed by the perception that the OF is still the hippy masses of the past. So again, I understand the wariness. And I’m certainly not anti-EF. Like I said, I’m interested in wading into the Latin and such. But I do think that the NO can be extremely reverent, mysterious and wonderfully Christ centered. It’s also very distinctly Catholic without being alien. Maybe my parish is the exception or something, although I have attended an OF mass at the Immaculate Conception in Jacksonville that was every bit as wonderful as the one at my home parish, albeit in a much older building so the style sort-of felt different, if that makes sense.

    My point is that I think the OF has a lot less to do with people leaving and a lack of vocations than the people themselves. Maybe it’s just anecdotal evidence, but my home parish is extremely full and growing. So is the parochial school run by our church. And that’s kind of surprising because the area in which I live has a very low population of young families. It’s mostly a retirement area. When I started coming to mass I was very surprised at how many younger people there were mixed in with the elderly folks and how many children were attending the religious Ed classes offered on Sunday mornings. That’s rare in my area, ever church I’ve attended was dying off, with the Catholic church being the only exception. I’ve literally been the only person with children at some congregations. But not at the local parish. So we’re obviously doing something right.

    Anyway, the gist of what I’m getting at is that if the OF is done right, it isn’t banal or boring at all. Maybe I just got lucky and walked into a parish that does it properly when most others don’t. I dunno. I can say for certain that if I’d walked into mass that first time and seen some of the stuff I’ve seen described as happening right after VII, I would have walked back out. But I don’t know how well I would have fared in an EF mass, either. I’d like to say I would have been fine, but I don’t really know that for certain. I read something the other day that the Pope is looking at coming to some kind of compromise form of the mass; basically a meshing of the best elements of the two. I would definitely be interested to see how that works out.

  • I would also like to add that I’d be interested to see what the conversion stats were from the previous eras. From what I’ve read and from the older folks I’ve talked to, it seems like the days that a lot of people are nostalgic for were also very closed off to anyone outside of the existing Catholic community- a lot of which was made up of newer immigrants and their progeny. Considering that from our founding, the US has been a predominantly Protestant nation, I think that’s it’s been missionary territory since day 1.

    Even though you are a revert- so you’re a convert of sorts- you still have some kind of foundational Catholic identity. So I think your perspective is going to be a lot more of someone looking at it from the inside. I’m someone who was totally on the outside, looking for ways to get others like me in. And from that perspective, I honestly think that returning to a closed off mindset is not the way to go. Again, I’m not suggesting that we have to make every tiny thing more palatable to outsiders. Certainly not! But I think that making the mass accessible to anyone coming in off the street is a good thing. So just to make the distinction clear, I’m not suggesting we cater to the whims of outsiders, but that we should be looking for ways to connect with them and make the mass something they can more easily understand. Does that make sense?

    P.S. Sorry for the multiple postings and any errors in spelling, etc. I’m doing this on my iPad, and while it’s a wonderful device for many things, proofreading and editing in com boxes does not fall into the wonderful category. 🙂

  • The problem with the common Mass (NO, OF) is that you never know what someone is talking about when they mention it. For that matter you never know what you are going to get when you walk into a different parish, or if you have a different priest at yours. It is very innovative and way too fluid. Sometimes you have the confiteor, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes it is Eucharistic Prayer I, others it is II, III, or IV. Sometimes we pray the Hail Mary, which is beautiful, but probably misplaced and sometimes we pray through St. Michael after Mass and most of the times we don’t. This does not include all the unapproved shenanigans that go on when some priests encourage a social hour before Mass, or the sign of conviviality that continues through the Agnus Die, or the cacophony that occurs after Mass when you are merely trying to do a silly little thing like thank Jesus for His Sacrifice to save your soul.

    If you are blessed to hear the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass celebrated properly in its ordinary form that is wonderful. My diocese has excellent priests, yet sometimes It doesn’t seem like I am at the Last Supper, Calvary or the Wedding Feast of the Lamb – I have to work very hard to put myself there. Sometimes it is easier. When I go out of town, I cry. I have seen some really frightening things. I have priests seem offended because I want to receive the Lord Jesus on my knees – I mean while kneeling, I receive Him on my tongue.

    It gets confusing. The Novus Ordo can be beautiful when the priest loves the Sacrifice and fervently acts in persona Christi. Just look at the Mass celebrated on EWTN, it is quite beautiful and you always know what you are going to get.

    This is what is so wonderful about the Tridintine Mass, it is totally mystical, beautiful and awesome, every time and you know what you are going to experience. It places the priest in a the proper position, at Mass, far more important than any of us who assist, not because of who he is, but because of what he has been empowered to do. At most NO (OF) Masses, the priest is merely the dude with the cookie and the lame homily.

    What we need is a restored Mass and we have an opportunity for that with the corrected translation coming this Advent (boy is this going to be an interesting Advent/Christmas season). Bishops should ensure the translation is explained because it is not just that we will say different things, it is why we are saying them differently that matters. There is a HUGE difference between that which is unseen and that which is invisible. Will anyone notice? Why are people beating their breasts three times during the confiteor? Some so-called catholics are going to be so confused. I only wish the bishops will insist on proper rubrics. One can Hope. Are people still going to be raising their hands like they are at a Christian Rock concert when we pray the Pater Noster?

    At Mass we are supposed to go through an examen, repent, Christmas, the Law, the Prophets, the public ministry of Christ, the entrance into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, the Passion, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and Ascension. The Mass is a walk through the life of Christ. How is that possible when I have backed my car into the space preparing for my exit, walked in during the first reading, hung out with a bunch of Protestants who call themselves Catholics, taken my cookie and headed for the parking lot before the priest exited the sanctuary (if you can even identify it because it looks like a stage and there is no altar rail)? It is hardly possible and then you find the short, stripped down weekday Mass easier to pray and start wondering why God commands you to go on Sundays. Something has to change. Perhaps the NO could be reserved for converts, like a boot camp, until they get up to speed, but as it is how many Catholics actually go to Mass, let alone pray it when they are physically there?

    Oh, angelluis, thanks for reminding everyone that although we may eat meat on Friday, we are not dispensed from an act of penance/mercy. The cool thing about meatless Fridays is that we are all doing the same thing together. I have usually practiced that as soon after I discovered that we still had to do some penance, lately I have had trouble with it due to some health concerns and my diet was altered, funny how sometimes absence can make the heart grow fonder because I do miss the discipline. We are a community of individuals and a properly celebrated Mass, the prayer and sacrifice of the Son to the Father, and meatless Fridays do keep us united as a community, rather than a social club that has some cool religious stuff we used to do.

    Sorry, for rambling, I am just wondering what Mass I’m walking into tomorrow and it is stressing me out.

  • Pingback: SUNDAY EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • I’ve been trying to keep the meatless Friday penance for about 10 years now. I’m probably about 95% successful.

    If I eat meat on a Friday, it’s not usually because I just want some meat; it’s usually because I’m invited to a dinner where I’d feel like I were insulting the host(ess) by not eating what he’s prepared. Because of those situations, I’m glad that I have the option of substituting another penance.

    However, I find that most of the time I can avoid meat simply by explaining that I don’t eat meat on Fridays. This has led to some good conversations, and helped some Catholics to learn that we are all called to do some penance on Friday.

    I live in South Louisiana, and I don’t like seafood at all (not even boiled crawfish). Believe me, when I say that I don’t eat meat, and I don’t eat seafood, I get strange looks.

    I really like the idea that Catholics – heck, all Christians – perform a visible sign that shows visible unity in Christ. Giving up meat is a wonderful way of doing that.

  • Nicholas,

    You bring up a great point. We should take reasonable measures to avoid situations that cause us to fail to keep out meatless Fridays; however, Fridays tend to have social evenings and that often involves food. We are called to penance and we are called to Charity, so I suppose if the host is providing meat it would be uncharitable to refuse. In some way that is a form of penance and if we cause discomfort to others in order to maintain our meat abstinence then aren’t we being legalistic and Pharisaical, which is a form of hubris?

    Does anyone know if we are required to keep meatless/penance Fridays during Eastertide? I know we are dispensed when a feast falls on a Friday, and I know we are exempt during the Easter Octave, but what about the rest of Easter through Pentecost?

  • American Knight,

    Given the larger social context in which not even Catholics give up meat on Fridays, then I do think that it is uncharitable to refuse to eat meat when I’m a guest.

    One of my former pastors, Fr. Randy Moreau (a truly holy priest, btw), drilled into us that we are called to some form of penance on Fridays. I count myself blessed that during an imporant formative age of my life I had a good pastor.

    As for the Eastertide, I don’t have an answer.

  • The calendar issued by the Melkite Eparchy indicates that meat may be eaten on the Fridays between Holy Pascha and the Feast of the Ascension, but at no other time of the year. It would be my assumption that the same applies in the Ukrainian and Roumanian Churches. Not sure about the Roman-rite…

  • I’m not “vehemently against the OF”. And my point was not that the OF itself was what caused the loss of vocations and reduced mass attendance. What I’m saying is that, first, the changes to the mass that resulted in the OF were not authorized by V2: V2 never said that mass should be entirely in the vernacular, and in fact said that Latin should be retained and that Gregorian chant should be given pride of place. Both of those things have been flatly violated in the vast majority of OF masses since V2.

    And second, that the changes to the mass in violation of V2, were part-and-parcel of a vast, widespread change in attitude, wherein people came to believe that everything pre-V2 was up for grabs. Thus, again Latin and Gregorian chant were jettisoned in violation of V2, religious habits thrown off, doctrines of all kinds called into question, the existence of Hell doubted, papal teachings rejected or ignored (specifically Humane Vitae), and on and on. All of this stuff, together, resulted in massive reductions in vocations and mass attendance.

    Again I’m saying it was a package, and the changes to the mass were an integral part of the package.

    I’m not opposed in principle to the revisions to the mass, including use of the vernacular. I think if they had instituted the revisions carefully and gradually, strictly abiding by the decisions of the Council, they might have been much better accepted by the people and could have had a good long-term result. Instead changes were imposed willy-nilly, in a loose and rebellious manner, in keeping with the rebellious and anti-traditional attitude that prevailed at the time in *all* areas of the Church’s life, not just the mass.

    I think it’s a mistake to believe that the these rebellious attitudes prevailed throughout the Church *except* in the area of the revisions to the mass; that somehow those making the mass revisions were sober and obedient, while everyone around them was going haywire. On the contrary, they were swept up in the same wave of hysteria that prevailed elsewhere, and it showed in the way masses were celebrated for decades afterward. It’s no coincidence that the “hippy” masses, as you call them, made their appearance at the same time as the officially approved mass revisions. Those who wanted the revisions also wanted, or at least welcomed, the hippy masses.

    By the way the new mass translations coming out this Advent reveal yet another symptom of the over-reaching that went on when the new mass was concocted. The vernacular translations were loosey-goosey, and it’s taken this long to reign them in.

  • I know that the OF *can* be done reverently and in a dignified manner. My point is, that the fact that it normally is *not* done in that manner, is no accident. Those who dreamed up the changes that were implemented were all in favor of guitars, bongos and liturgical dancers. It was the way the changes were implemented, and the attitudes of those who deliberately went beyond what the Council authorized, that encouraged and fostered the kinds of silliness and banality that have resulted.

    Yes, if a pastor is bound and determined to have a reverent and dignified mass, he can do so with the OF. It’s not impossible. My point is that it’s a lot easier to slip into banality and silliness in the days since the OF was introduced, than it was when the EF was the only game in town, because of the attitudes that accompanied the introduction of the OF, and still prevail in the vast majority OF parishes to this day.

  • With all due to respect for all bishops, I am disappointed by the decision of the English bishops to reinstate mandatory Friday abstinence. While I do not normally eat meat on Friday, and frequently do other Friday penances as a devotion, I think that making meatless Fridays mandatory year-round is not a good idea. Even if one wishes to observe Friday abstinence as much as possible, occasionally there could be good reasons to make an exception (without having to worry about sin). There are at least several situations where I think that being required to abstain would be awkward or impractical (such as birthdays or holidays). For instance, it would seem excessively harsh to require Americans to abstain from meat on the 4th of July (when that day is Friday). Also, it may be impractical to abstain while traveling. Making it a sin to eat meat could also encourage scrupulosity. While I hope the US bishops encourage more suitable voluntary penances, I hope and pray they do not make Friday abstinence mandatory year-round.

  • Matthew,

    Some of the other commenters have explained why eating meat on the occasional Friday is not something to worry about. We already are granted exceptions on feast days that fall on Fridays (ie. St. Patrick’s Day). I’m not sure why abstaining would be difficult while traveling – I do it all the time.

  • Mandy – I’ve known a few converts over the years who’ve become involved in EF parishes. Don’t worry about understanding Latin. You don’t have to become a scholar to follow the Mass. A lot of parishes will have paper missalettes with the Latin and English texts.

    But the Tridentine Mass isn’t about language. If I can say this without causing any fistfights, I think that participation in the Novus Ordo Mass in America is more similar to the pre-V2 culture of American Protestantism than to the pre-V2 culture of American Catholicism. (I can’t stress the word “American” strongly enough in that formulation.) The passive posture toward participation in the Old Mass is going to feel alien to you, just as the active posture feels alien to EF Catholics.

    The Catholic Mass is remarkably different from Protestant services. I remember taking a friend to his first Mass; he was blown away by how trinitarian it was. That’s something that a cradle Catholic wouldn’t even have thought about. For converts who approach the Church out of belief (rather than marriage or practice), the difference between the Mass and a Protestant service will be obvious. From a cultural standpoint, however, well, let me put it like this: if you were an outer space alien looking into a Protestant church, a Novus Ordo, and a EF, you’d be confused as to which two were the most similar.

  • if you were an outer space alien looking into a Protestant church, a Novus Ordo, and a EF, you’d be confused as to which two were the most similar.

    As recently as ten years ago, services in broad and high Anglican parishes in the Genesee Valley were quite dignified in comparison with the common-and-garden Novus Ordo service you see in the Diocese of Syracuse. I can give you the name of an Anglican vicar who felt compelled to resign as rector of a parish near here because his goofing about during services had provoked so many complaints to the diocesan house and so many departures from the parish. Marty Haugen et al. had not acquired much of a constituency in Episcopal parishes. (Regrettably, On Eagles Wings was played at an Episcopal funeral I just attended).

  • Art – It’s complicated, isn’t it? I think that the low-church Protestant culture has been most dominant in the US among Protestants, and it’s bled over into the way the Novus Ordo was implemented here. But there’s a high church tradition among Protestants here, too. And in other countries, at least from what I’ve heard, the implementation of the new Mass never caused friction. The example I hear most often is Poland, where apparently the vernacular Mass brought nothing but graces and the strengthening of national and religious confidence. It’s said that JPII didn’t really “get” the complaints of traditionalists at the beginning of his pontificate because Poland’s experience had been so positive.

    It’s going to be interesting to see the impact that high-church Anglicans will have on Catholicism as they return. Again, in their experience, the high/low split doesn’t break the same as the orthodox/heretical split. So the returning Anglicans should be from the entire spectrum of liturgical traditions. But would an Anglican “rite” isolate the impact upon mainstream Catholicism? I dunno.

    Anyway, I’ve kept the Friday abstinence for a while. I only rarely forget; sometimes I have to eat what’s put before me, and I try to offer up something else. It’s surprising how many restaurants still have Friday fish specials. I think if it became a Catholic rule again, you’d see a resurgence in white sauces and seafoods, and maybe even Caesar salads without chicken in them. It’d be accepted pretty quickly, I’d bet.

  • I would tend to doubt that the hymnody of contemporary Catholic parishes has any counterpart in protestant congregations. The Novus Ordinary parish nearest me subscribes to the pubications of Oregon Catholic Press and about 85% of the music selected has been published since 1966. I suspect you would find a great deal of contemporary music in most evangelical parishes, but stylistically quite different.

  • It meant something that many around you were doing the same thing. It was a phsical reminder in case you “forgot” what day it was. Even fast food places had the fish sandwich advertised during meatless Fridays. Everyone doing their own thing as led to the evaporation of the practice all together. I asked numerous Catholics I know this week what they give up on Friday and none had a clue what I was talking about. That speaks volumes. We should all in unity under the direction AND instruction from Rome and out US Bishops abstain once again from meat on Fridays, together. There always were and will be exceptions, sickness etc., but people who fight it for no other reason than THEY feel it obsolete do a great diservice to the reason for the practice in the first place. The fact remains, for all but a few, the unity and sacrifice of Friday sacrifice is gone in the Catholic world. Bring back the meatless Fridays and the majority will slowly but surely follow. It will unify many, many people.

  • Mitch, I attended a parochial grade and high school during the ’70’s (and a Jesuit university. The Jesuits have some practices that vaguely resemble Catholicism). I reverted to Catholicism in 2005, but until I read this post I swear I had no idea that we were supposed to abstain from something every Friday. I never heard it – not from any nun, priest or teacher.

    “Bring back the meatless Fridays and the majority will slowly but surely follow. It will unify many, many people.”

    I believe you’re right about this. I am now keen to observe meatless Fridays, although honestly, they are not that difficult for me, since I never met a properly prepared seafood dish I didn’t like. Nicholas Jagneaux, do you want to trade places with me? I would be in heaven eating crawfish and seafood gumbos and I hope you would be able to get through Fridays just fine relying on our Wisconsin cheeses (and the artisan cheeses from small farms are getting tastier all the time)for your protein needs.

  • “the beauty and grace of a Tupperware party in a gymnasium.”

    Excellent!

    I don’t want to ignore the substance of the post. I kind knew that Friday’s are meatless, but for the Bishop’s intervention. However, I have seen the dietary restrictions as a personal sacrifice, disconnected with the communal face of the Church. The post and comments suggest an alternative view: that public sacrifice witnesses to the Faith. I need to ruminate on this.

    With regards to the ongoing debate about the NO, I think that the extreme actions of some tar the whole.

    The is a huge difference between a different expression of the Mass that grows “organically” and one imposed on a parish by those with an agenda. The difference between the practice of the NO in a black or Hispanic or Hatian Catholic church in America and that of a “progressive” parish is one of intentionality and therein lies the sin.

    When stationed in Norfolk, VA, I went to Mass with an entirely black congregation. The church had no kneelers attached to the pews, a decidedly black Jesus crucified above the altar, and the saints that were pictured throughout were chosen to connect with the black experience in America. The Mass was a full half hour longer, at least in part because the sign of peace was a virtual break in the Mass with everyone getting out of their pews and saying hello to people on the other side of the church. CCD was attended by everyone, not just children who went to public school but by those that went to Catholic schools too.

    It certainly deviated from my experiences growing up in Philadelphia but it was “natural” and it “fit” the community. Vatican II merely made lawful what already existed there, it gave voice to the broader expression of faith already in existence but stifled by a romish impulse that validated only the culture of a people in decline (Italians) while diminishing the cultural identity of the vibrant Church in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. This is worlds apart from the forced progressivism of parishes taken over by preening and cocksure Baby-Boomers intent on turning the Church INTO something else.

    At it’s best, the NO let’s faithful Catholic communities be who they already are, at it’s worst, it lets progressives hijack the faith and drive it off of a cliff.

  • Donna,

    I’d love to trade places – except during the winter! Brrrr Wisconsin seems too cold for this Cajun. I wouldn’t know how to drive.

    (As a sidenote – I was planning a vacation/pilgrimage to Our Lady of Good Help this summer, but, alas!, things just didn’t work out. I was going to include tours of creameries, but, more importantly, breweries.)

    As for eating seafood on Fridays, it is true that for those – like my wife and daughter – who like seafood, the penance is not especially difficult. But, as our former pastor said: the Friday penance is not an excuse to eat seafood platters. He suggested we substitute something simple, like eggs or peanut butter or tuna (from a can).

    And, I’m with Mitch: Christians need a visible unity. This is a small – but wonderful – way to show that we are in the world, but not of it.

  • Of late I have attempted to observe either fasting or abstinence on Fridays. A couple of weeks ago, I got a call around noon on a Friday from the local blood center asking if I could donate ASAP… I agreed but set the appointment for several hours later so that I could break my fast first. Unfortunately, when I reported to the center I flunked the blood test (red cell count was a shade too low). I’ll try again at a later date and make sure to eat lots of iron-packed foods like spinach first….

    Although you can only do it every 8 weeks (56 days), I would suggest that giving blood, if you are able, is one of the most appropriate “substitute” Friday penances there is. What better way to honor the One who shed all of His Blood for our sake, than to shed a little of yours for the sake of another?

  • Elaine,

    That is a great suggestion. Thank you.

Reagan’s Normandy Speech

Friday, May 27, AD 2011

The first law firm I worked for in 1982 after I graduated from law school had three attorneys.  The senior partner had a son who fell at Omaha Beach.  Another partner was an officer in the Eighth Air Force helping to plot bombing missions in support of D-Day.  The attorney I replaced, who had been appointed to be a judge, had been badly wounded at Omaha Beach and still walked with a very pronounced limp as a result.  On Memorial Day  weekend I will remember those men, and all those who have sacrificed on behalf of our nation.  Here is the text of President Reagan’s speech on the 40th anniversary of D-Day:

Continue reading...

Top Ten Films For Memorial Day Weekend

Thursday, May 26, AD 2011

“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say,
For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”

              Inscription on the memorial to the dead of the British 2nd Infantry Division at Kohima.

The upcoming Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, is a time of fun here in the US.  However, it should also be a time of memory.  Memorial day is derived from the Latin “memoria”, memory, and we are duty bound this weekend to remember those who died in our defense, and who left us with a debt which can never be repaid.  One aid to memory can be films, and here are a few suggestions for films to watch this weekend.

10.  300-This may seem like an odd choice, not involving Americans, and a fairly bizarre retelling of the battle of Thermopylae.  However, it celebrates the idea of never forgetting those who died for their country.  “Go tell the Spartans passerby, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie.”  So wrote Simonides, the greatest poet of his time, in tribute to the Spartans who fell at Thermopylae.  The speech of Dilios at the end of the film, which may be viewed here, reminds us of our duty to remember those who laid down their lives for us, a message to be recalled this weekend.

  9.   They Were Expendable (1945) John Ford and John Wayne tell the story of the doomed PT Boat crews that fought against overwhelming odds during the invasion of the Philippines in 1941-42.  The film has a gritty downbeat feel, appropriate to the subject matter, but an oddity for a film made during the War.

  8.    Hamburger Hill (1987)-Content advisory: very, very strong language in the video clip which may be viewed here.  All the Vietnam veterans I’ve mentioned it to have nothing but praise for this film which depicts the assault on Hill 937 by elements of the 101rst Division, May 10-20, 1969.  It is a fitting tribute to the valor of the American troops who served their country in an unpopular war a great deal better than their country served them.

   7.   Porkchop Hill (1959)-Korea has become to too many Americans The Forgotten War, lost between World War II and Vietnam.  There is nothing forgotten about it by the Americans who served over there, including my Uncle Ralph McClarey who died recently, and gained a hard won victory for the US in one of the major hot conflicts of the Cold War.  This film tells the story of the small American force on Porkchop Hill, who held it in the face of repeated assaults by superior forces of the Chinese and North Koreans.  As the below clip indicates it also highlights the surreal element that accompanies every war and the grim humor that aspect often brings.

  6.    Glory (1989)-A long overdue salute to the black troops who served in the Union Army during the Civil War.  Robert Gould Shaw the white colonel who led the 54th Massachusetts died at Fort Wagner in the assault of the 54th.  He was buried by the Confederates with his black troops.  His parents were given an opportunity to have his body exhumed and returned to Boston for burial.  Their reply was immortal:    We would not have his body removed from where it lies surrounded by his brave and devoted soldiers….We can imagine no holier place than that in which he lies, among his brave and devoted followers, nor wish for him better company – what a body-guard he has!

Continue reading...

26 Responses to Top Ten Films For Memorial Day Weekend

  • All good. I also would include “Battle Ground” (?) on the 101st at Bastogne.

    Please take a moment next Monnday to pray for our fallen troops, especially Afghanistan and Iraq, and for their families.

    In a very recent four day period, nine gallant Marines of the Third Battalion, Fifth Marines gave their lives for our liberties in Afghanistan.

    My son was there with the 10th Mountain Div. in 2009. I never told his Mother this: three months after he came home, a platoon leader (doing the same as he was doing) in his “sister” battalion was killed in action.

    Greet them ever with grateful hearts.

  • Don, I’m with you on York. Especially like the scene in the church.
    http://youtu.be/f68TdgErXkE

  • The events leading up to the church scene Joe:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-0E1Nxty2LY&feature=related

    Hollywood of course jazzed up York’s conversion in that there was no bolt of lighting from the sky. His conversion was a product of his devout mother’s influence, the influence of his future wife who was also a devout Christian, and his seeing a friend die in a senseless barroom brawl. However, as in the movie his conversion was total, and from being a brawling, frequently drunken, hellraiser, he became a Christian who made heroic efforts throughout his life to live the Gospel. Sergeant York is one of the greatest American films on the subject of religious conversion and what it means to be a Christian.

  • Of course, Don, “artistic license.” One possible addition: Something with Audey Murphy (To hell and back), most decorated soldier ever.

  • Also a great film Joe. Murphy’s wartime exploits were more fantastic than anything he ever filmed in Hollywood as an actor. Most of the men he served with intially in his squad were killed in the war, and Murphy thereafter considered himself, after surviving the war, as a “refugee from the law of averages”. He died, appropriately enough, in an airplane crash on May 28, 1971, during Memorial Day weekend that year.

  • I recall hearing a story about Shaw’s parents receiving a letter from the Confederates stating something along the lines of “we buried him with his n*ggers.” which they promptly framed and displayed in front of their home in MA. Not sure if that’s true, but it certainly was believable.

  • It failed as a feature film partially because too much was left on the cutting room floor.

    You mean there’s actually more? Wasn’t it like 15 hours to begin with?

    In all seriousness, I thought I was the only who actually liked that film.

  • I’d also add Blackhawk Down. I don’t think I’ve ever shaken with rage in a film (besides Rob Roy) like I did when Delta snipers Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart gave themselves to death with no hope of rescue only so that their comrade would not face his own death alone. God bless those men and their brothers who carry that duty today.

  • 280 minutes on the Blue ray Paul, 280! This should never have been released on the big screen as a feature film. It works as a miniseries.

  • Doesn’t quite fit this category perhaps, but I recently saw “Andersonville” and thought it was one of the most underappreciated movies ever. No big stars, but well acted and helmed by a great director (Frankenheimer)

  • “Not sure if that’s true, but it certainly was believable.”

    I doubt if that is true, Chris, but it would have been right in character with his parents’ sentiments. His father summed up the family’s view:

    “We hold that a soldier’s most appropriate burial-place is on the field where he has fallen”.

  • I suggest A Bridge to Far, Patton, and Full Metal Jacket.

    There are also Sands of Iwo Jima and The Battle of the Bulge. I have not seen these two in a while but Sands of Iwo Jima played every Sunday on AFTV in San Diego during boot camp. We could watch while cleaning gear, etc. A cheesy movie but full of patrotism and the never quit attitude of the USMC – Semper Fi!

    For a look at the German perspective on WWII Eastern Front see Iron Cross.

    Enjoy your Memorial Day!!

  • I remember Tom Hanks in ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ saying he cried watching The Dirty Dozen.’ The ultimate guy movie?

  • Now who wouldn’t tear up at this sequence? Why the use of Donald Duck alone… 🙂

  • I know Mel has sort of fallen out of favor of late, but what are your thoughts on “We Were Soldiers”?

    And, as far as Alamo movies go, I’m more partial to the more recent version (and Billy Bob Thornton’s more realistic portrayal of Davy Crockett) to John Wayne’s (although I still like the Duke’s version, as well).

  • Is the “Gettysburg” Blue-Ray contain the extended version (another 20-30 minutes)? That version was only released as part of a collector’s edition VHS set, along with a booklet and bullet from the War.

  • “Battle of the Bulge” was OK, but the purist in me hated the fact the tanks were all wrong. It was the same case in Patton, but the greatness of the film overcomes my problems with it.

    How about “The Big Red One,” a semi-autobiographical film from Samuel Fuller? I’d love to see the restored version from 2004 (another 50 minutes of film).

    Ditto to the recommendation of “Black Hawk Down,” a tribute to the determination of the American soldier.

    Finally, while a good but not great film, “The Great Raid” is a well-told story about the successful rescue of American POWs in the Phillipines. It properly tips its cap to the indispensible efforts of the Filipino resistance fighters, too. Read William Breuer’s book of the same name, too.

  • “I know Mel has sort of fallen out of favor of late, but what are your thoughts on “We Were Soldiers”?”

    I’m not sure why, but it left me cold. Gibson and Sam Elliot gave fine performances, and as a piece of entertainment I have no problem with it. I guess I probably know too much about the battle of the Ia Drang to allow a proper suspension of disbelief in regard to how it was portrayed in the film.

    “Is the “Gettysburg” Blue-Ray contain the extended version (another 20-30 minutes)? That version was only released as part of a collector’s edition VHS set, along with a booklet and bullet from the War.”

    Not quite sure Dale. I’m picking it up this weekend. It clocks in at 271 minutes and is described as the Director’s Cut. There is 17 minutes of additional footage not incorporated in the Director’s cut.

  • Joe

    What are you doing throwing in a reference to Sleepless in Seatle?!!! Might as well referred to the movie Mama Mia, ugh!! 🙂

    Dale – As a teen ager I thought they were great. I couldn’t tell the diffence between the tanks at that time and now when I comment about inaccuracies I am told by wife and kids that I am ruining the movie . . . such is life.

  • CL…My wife made me watch it so I made her watch Dirty Dozen.

  • Ah, the Battle of the Bulge, inaccuracies galore, although I loved the movie as a kid especially for this scene:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ2YaThEms0

    My brother commanded an armor platoon in Germany in the early eighties. One time he wandered into a German pub where a bunch of German vets were having a reunion. They found out he was in the US Army and asked him what branch he was in. When he said “panzers” they treated him like a long lost brother since they were all tankers too. They all claimed to have fought on the Eastern Front except one guy who pointed to his bum leg and said “Normandy!”.

  • Some might consider it an “anti-American” movie. But, I gained a huge amount of respect for the sheer (and often senseless) brutality our soldiers go through when watching ” The Thin Red Line.”

  • It clocks in at 271 minutes and is described as the Director’s Cut. There is 17 minutes of additional footage not incorporated in the Director’s cut.

    Interesting–it sounds like a third version, then. I’m reasonably certain the VHS collector’s edition had another half hour of footage. I’ll have to look it up to make sure, though.

  • I’m surprised no one has mentioned the miniseries, “Band of Brothers” with Damien Lewis. Excellent, I thought.

  • The top 50 “war” movies, according to IMDB voters:

    http://www.imdb.com/chart/war

Anderson on Shea on Carter

Wednesday, May 25, AD 2011

My good friend Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia often delivers some of the most insightful commentary on Saint Blog’s.  Here is commentary that he did today fisking Mark Shea’s observations of  Joe Carter’ post  at First Things, where Carter took a look at Generation X conservatives, and which may be read here.   This gave  Mark an opportunity to voice his disdain for forms of conservatism other than the paleocon version he embraces, and to go “O Tempora, O Mores”, over the coming generation of conservatives.  Jay’s commentary is priceless:

Mark Shea has commented on an excellent piece by Joe Carter at First Things, in which Joe seeks to define “Generation X” conservatives, who he labels “X-Cons”.

Mark begins:

He has been one of the few voices in the conservative movement to speak out of actual conservative values and not out of the Consequentialism that dominates the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism. So I was interested in his description of “X-Cons“, the rising generation of conservatives (so-called) who have been coming of age in the past decade. I think his description is accurate, rather depressing, and a further proof that Chesterton is right when he says that each revolutionary movement is a reaction to the last revolution–and that it typically knows what is wrong but not what is right. I appreciate Carter’s clear-eyed analysis and suspect that he, like me, is not altogether thrilled that this is the desperate pass in which the Thing that Used to be Conservatism now finds itself.

Later on, Mark continues:

X-Cons know little about history and their deepest influence is disk jockeys, who “taught us X-Cons to appreciate confirmation of our political views.” The perfectly reasonable thing to ask in light of this crushing diagnosis is, “What, precisely, is being conserved by such a ‘conservatism’?” A conservatism that knows nothing of engagement with ideas outside the Talk Radio Noise Machine (including engagement with ideas from its own intellectual history) and which has learned, as it’s primary lesson, “to appreciate confirmation of our political views” is a conservatism that is intellectually barren and open to manipulation by demagogues who flatter its adherents and teach them to remain safe in the echo chamber.

Mark goes further in his assessment of “X-Cons” as the dupes of demagogues:

When Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck are your intelligentsia and Buckley is a sort of a ghostly eminence gris you no longer bother listening to, one must again ask what, exactly, is being conserved by such a conservatism. Much that bills itself as anti-elitist is just a celebration of intellectual laziness and a resentment of people who have done the hard work of thought. Yes, there are pointy headed intellectuals who pride themselves on their learning. That’s not an excuse to be a wahoo who prides himself on his ignorance.

Mark concludes his analysis of Joe’s piece lamenting Joe’s acknowledgement of the fact that “X-Cons” will soon displace the generation that came before us. Joe writes:

• X-Cons will soon be replacing the Boomers as the dominant cohort within the movement. We’ll be fielding presidential candidates in 2016 and dominating elections in 2020. We are, for better and for worse, the future of the movement. And of America.

… and Mark responds:

Bleak words indeed…

My Comments:
First, let me note that I tried to leave my thoughts in comments on Mark’s blog, but the commenting tool Mark uses rejected the comment as too voluminous. Rather than breaking it up into several comments, I decided to blog my view on the matter here.

While I commend Joe on his piece at First Things, I call B.S. on at least parts of Mark’s analysis of Joe’s piece, and ESPECIALLY on some of the commenters who have responded favorably to Mark’s analysis by blaming the so-called “X-Cons” for the commenters’ decisions to continue to support the party of abortion-on-demand.

The “X-Cons” aren’t responsible for “the Thing that Used to Be Conservatism” (hereafter, “the Thing”) – in fact, we are increasingly skeptical of “the Thing” and especially the Republican Party claiming the mantle of “the Thing”. As evidence, I submit my own blog as well as a piece today at National Catholic Register by Pat Archbold (recently described by one of Mark’s sycophants as a “Republican shill”).

No, the folks responsible for bringing us huge deficits, Wilsonian foreign policy, and consequentialism dressed up as “the Thing” were decidedly NOT members of the “X” generation, but were baby boomers and even members of the so-called “Greatest Generation”. Given that fact, Mark’s assessment as “bleak words indeed” of Joe’s acknowledgement of the rise of the “X-Cons” to replace the previous generation seems completely without merit. Surely we can’t do any worse with respect to “the Thing” than the generations that have come before us. In short, given our increasing distrust of what “the Thing” has become and the party that champions it, it is the “X-Cons” who are the antidote to “the Thing”, not the purveyors of it.

In addition, rather than criticizing the “X-Cons” for rejecting elitism and embracing what they see as middle-class authenticism, why not ask whether the elites have actually served them well and, if the answer is “HELL NO!” (which it most assuredly is), whether there are better alternatives for leadership from among the “riff-raff” who actually share the values of the “X-Cons”? Mark asks what is it that is actually being conserved? Well, if you ask me, the traditional family values of protection of life, protection of the institution of the family, hard work, integrity, loyalty, etc., etc., are being protected far more on the front porches, parish halls, and town halls of flyover country than they are in the halls of academia and, yes, even on the pages of National Review. Maybe “X-Cons” see the people Mark derides as base and demogogic as being the actual preservers of the values we hold dear (i.e. they’re the ones doing the “conserving” these days), as opposed to the new generation of Buckleys who view us as so much white trash and instead embrace The One.

Continue reading...

35 Responses to Anderson on Shea on Carter

  • I remember Mark Shea (among all my loved ones living and dead) in my prayers night and day. That said, I basically disgree with everything he has ever posted.

    I can’t look at his stuff any longer. It’s painful.

  • The obnoxious tone of Shea’s posts are just too much, it’s best if they are avoided. Even though he knows alot about Catholicism, he doesn’t seem Catholic to me.

    I happen to think Palin would make a good President, I trust her judgement and I like her toughness.

    I think you’re right T.Shaw, let’s keep Shea in our prayers.

  • Sir, you are remarking on Mr. Anderson’s comments on Mark Shea’s (repellant) comments on Mr. Carter’s jejune column. Reminds me of a dog chasing its tail.

  • And arf to you Grouchy Penguin! 🙂

  • Mark Shea, IMO, in spite of him making orthodox and conservative noises, is basically a liberal. When you read all of his material on critical subjects, it almost always has a liberal bias to it. His stand on the death penalty is classic liberalism dressed up as Catholic orthodoxy. I say dressed up, because the Scriptures, and nearly 2000 years of Church tradition never opposed the right use of it to punish those were truly guilty of murder, treason, or rape. Yet Shea, without taking the time to listen and understand the Scriptures, tradition, and the arguements of death penalty advocates, smears anyone who favors the dp as a “death penalty maxiumist”. Heck, even God would have to be included in that description, for He was the one who instituted it in the first place!

  • is basically a liberal

    No. He is a man with personality problems grown hypertrophied with age.

  • Can’t wait to hear Shea’s response so that we can have Shea on Anderson on Shea on Carter. Maybe Joe will bring it all home with a post titled Carter on Shea on Anderson on Shea on Carter. All I ask is that Jay refrain from further comment because then the world will implode upon itself.

    I just hope that Jimmy Carter, the relatives of Bill Shea, and Louie Anderson decide against entering the fray.

    This will all probably end with Shea quoting Chesterton completely out of context and then banning someone or three from his comment box while utilizing one of the following phrases: rubberhose right, the thing thing that used to be call conservatism, stupid party, stupid evil party, evil stupid party, or maybe some kind of combination like the thing that stupidly used to be called the evil rubberhose right.

    Good times.

  • “…or maybe some kind of combination like the thing that stupidly used to be called the evil rubberhose right.”

    Quick, copyright that.

  • “Carter on Shea on Anderson on Shea on Carter”

    I like it! 🙂

  • “Carter on Shea on Anderson on Shea on Carter”

    I’m pretty sure that’s illegal in most states. But after Lawrence v. Texas, who knows anymore where (or even if) Justice Kennedy will draw the line on his “sweet mystery of life”.

  • >That said, I basically disgree with everything he has ever posted.
    So you support abortion, contraception and gay marriage? Because I know Shea was written stuff against those things.

    >Mark Shea, IMO, in spite of him making orthodox and conservative noises, is basically a liberal.
    Why? When did opposition to waterboarding and Glenn Back make one un-Catholic? True, I hate it when he moans about “Empire,” (much to the rejoicing of tyrants and actual empire-lovers* (such as the current Moscow and Beijing regimes)) everywhere but I wouldn’t say his opinions are necessarily heterodox.

    One thing I hate about the current political climate is the amount of tribalism (and subsequent mischaracterization) that goes on. “You Republicans are all science-hating misogynistic racists!” “Yeah, well that’s better than you, you Constitution-hating anti-Western terrorist-lover!” True, I’m mainly a conservative in my views, but just because I think liberals are wrong (even completely) in their views doesn’t mean I assume they have malicious intentions…

    *That is, if they actually read Mark’s blog, which I highly doubt they do.

  • I can’t look at his stuff any longer. It’s painful.

    Yeah.
    All the more because his was one of the first sites I went to after boot camp– after not reading anything but instruction material for months.

    (I didn’t even come to this post until I noticed that, for some reason, I got a half-dozen blog hits from it… must’ve been from the comment bar or blogroll.)

  • At the risk of provoking a second Sumter, I’m going to quote Abraham Lincoln:

    “I dislike that man. I must get to know him better.”

    As a friend of Mark’s and one who has had the pleasure of meeting him on multiple occasions, it would be nice if the conversation could steer clear of speculation about personality problems and so forth.

    I’m not a fan of his “pox on everybody’s houses” approach to politics myself, but criticism is best limited to the merits and demerits of the writings themselves, as Jay has done. Psychoanalysis by DSL remains notoriously unreliable.

  • I agree, Dale, that we should focus on the merits, or lack thereof, of Mark’s writing, rather than focusing on personalities. I happen to agree with Mark on a lot (torture included), but I also disagree with him at those times in which he paints with too broad a brush, as I believe he has done here.

    And since the issue of anti-intellectualism has surfaced in the comments at Mark’s blog, let me say, for the record, that I am not anti-intellectual by any means. In fact, I’m quite proud of the fact that I have a law degree from a top-10 law school at a university founded by, arguably, this nation’s most intellectual President.

    But, that said, I don’t believe that much “conserving” is going on these days in the halls of academia or in the pages of the sorts of publications that the hoity-toity tend to patronize.

    Sufice it to say that, if I were to hold to the views that most graduates of top-10 law schools hold, I would acutally have LESS claim to objective truth (which, in my view, is what conservatism is about) than the weekly-mass-attending guy in flyover country with only a high school diploma working an hourly 9-5 job to ensure that he can support his family of 6 and struggle to send his kids to Catholic school. I’d gladly vote for that guy to represent me over the typical graduate of a top-10 law school ANY DAY.

  • And, since Mark alludes to Buckley in his post, let us not forget that it was the man himself who once said that he would rather entrust the government of the nation to the first 400 people in the Boston phone book than to the Harvard faculty.

  • I can’t find any attribution of the quote “I don’t like that man, I must get to know him better.” for Lincoln before about the 1940s; a similar quote does show up in a photographer’s magazine from 1900, though….

    You meet people, and you don’t like them at first; you say, ” I don’t like that man.” By and by you learn to know him better, and you do like him ; and usually those are the firmest friendships that begin just that way.

    It looks like one of those quotes that got twisted into something that sounded like Lincoln.

  • Well, between us my wife and I have five degrees from top colleges and universities, and we would agree with Buckley. Our experience in life has taught us the difference between someone who is well educated and someone who is wise. Too many of the well-educated elites in our society have worked overtime the past few decades to vividly demontrate the difference.

  • I don’t agree that X-cons are necessarily religious. I’ll grant they can be more comfortable being publicly religious than prior generations were, at least the evangelical ones. But there’s a large number of godless X-cons – Ayn Rand types, young Tea Partiers, pro-military agnostics, anti-government hacker wannabees, social Darwinists, Christian conservatives who drifted away from the faith, among others. They’re not going to hang out with the evangelicals and Catholics at a barbecue, but they’re all going to vote similarly. And I think that bridge-building instinct that someone labelled “merely Christian” is really merely conservative, allowing everyone a seat at the table (not the Communion table, but every other table).

  • I am glad you enjoy his company, Dale.

    I do not psychoanalyze. I merely remark on how he addresses his correspondents and how he writes about others.

    I could, of course, offer a substantive critique of what he writes, but I keep in mind Mortimer Adler’s advisories: 1.) not every text merits a line-by-line reading; 2.) they tell you not to judge a book by its cover, but the cover is what the publisher wishes you to see – first. He is a wretched rhetorician, and that is what I see – first.

  • “He is a man with personality problems grown hypertrophied with age”–is rather more than a critique of his rhetoric.

  • Shea on McClarey on Anderson on Shea on Carter:

    “I’m afraid I haven’t been following the American Catholic so I don’t know what they’ve been saying about me. Historically, they’ve mostly been upset with me for not making a complete identification between whatever the Talking Points are from the GOP this week and Church teaching. My guess is that this still cover most of the grievances they have with me, but it’s just a guess.”

    Anderson on Shea on McClarey on Anderson on Shea on Carter:

    “I’d guess the differences have more to do with hyperbole, painting with broad brushstrokes, and the creation of strawmen that bear no resemblance to the actual object being addressed in the blog post (all of which apply to the present assessment of Generation X conservatives).”

  • “Historically, they’ve mostly been upset with me for not making a complete identification between whatever the Talking Points are from the GOP this week and Church teaching. My guess is that this still cover most of the grievances they have with me, but it’s just a guess.”

    Well, I guess that statement is proof positive that Mark does not read The American Catholic.

  • Oh, but Don, it’s so much easier to caricature the sort of straw version of The American Catholic that you might find on such parody sites as Vox Nova or The Catholic Fascist than to actually address the substance of the real thing.

  • Dare we call that “intellectually lazy” Jay? 🙂

  • I like Shea’s work on doctrine. I own his book on Magesterial authority as well the one about the “Senses” of scripture. Both are great. However, I usually have a hard time stomaching his columns on politics. IMO, he builds up straw men that fit certain stereotypes and then goes medieval on them. Pass.

    As far as paleocons and “X-cons”, I guess I must fall into the latter group. I’m 31 and my observation about people of previous generations (conservative and liberal alike) is that they were/are not very politically astute. For the past 30 years or so people have been content to vote for the “right party”, be it R or D, and trust that they would do the right thing. Well, we can see where that’s gotten us. I am significantly more politically aware and involved than my parents and grandparents were, although they are starting to come around now. And I don’t trust the so-called elites to do the right thing because I’ve watched them promise, promise, promise and then turn around and stick it to us for my entire life. But apparently in Shea’s opinion, that makes me ignorant or something.

  • Speaking as an X-con, who never finished her Master’s degree in Human Resources at a non-descript private, non-profit university, I neither have the pedigree nor writing skills of the commenters on this blog. I do, however, enjoy reading the thoughts of the smart ones.

    I don’t worry about my generation being the generation that could screw politics up even more than they are already. I find it annoying, however, that entire generations of people are be blamed for anything, especially before they are even given the opportunity to indeed garner said blame. I know that I see many friends of mine losing homes they bought because they are too expensive, while baby boomers continue to live in these same exact houses for years. The boomers bought these homes many years before for an affordable price that was never 10 times their annual salary. I see people of my generation worry about obtaining their all too elusive social security and medicare benefits when they retire. I know people of my generation who never played outside as a child because their mother had to work due to their parents divorce and they never saw their baby boomer father except one weekend a month. In high school, I noticed that there were many more young white kids in the classes above me, because they weren’t aborted.

    The first thing I want to do is blame baby boomers for our financial woes, our psycholocial wounds because of the legalization of abortion and easy divorce. When I think about it, however, I realize that it is because of OUR fallen nature that we sin. The baby boomers were not the first to sin (although they did a great job of it) and my generation has and will continue to sin, especially in this broken society.

    Pointing fingers up and down generational lines, however, does nothing more than offend some sinners and absolve other sinners of their culpability. Blaming is counterproductive. With Christ there is hope.

  • Pingback: THURSDAY EVENING EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • Christine,

    I get your point. But it’s very hard for me not to be angry at the previous generations. I see how so many simply stuck their heads in the sand when it comes to things like SS and Medicare, always kicking the can down the road so that they can get their bennies. Now that the entitlements are going under, I see those same people complaining about how they’ve been “promised” and that we younger folks should basically just shut up and pay up (rarely put quite that harshly, but it’s always the gist).

    I have two small children. My son is 4 and my daughter is 16 months. My children and their generation are who will end up living significantly poorer lives because my parents and their parents feel they’re “owed” something. Maybe it’s uncharitable of me, but I can’t help being upset by my children’s future being squandered.

  • Speaking as a so-called X-con, a label I like even less than Gen X I can say that we are a generation that is resistant to be defined by these labels. Although the X factor has some truth to it. We are far less homogenous than previous or subsequent generations. We are a relatively small generation sandwiched between two generations of collectivists, yet we are probably more powerful because we are nimble, intelligent rather than educated, conservative rather than Republican, creators more than consumers, religious more than spiritual, leaders more than followers.

    We did grow up knowing that we survived the most dangerous place in the world, our own mothers’ wombs only to face being burned alive by the Soviet nuclear threat. Yet most of us came of age when it was Morning in America again. Have you noticed how much happier the music of the 80s is compared to the whinny, sentimental, depressing tone of today’s so-called rock and even the corporate bubble gum pop? Our musicians for the most part played real instruments. Even the movies were better, now we can only remake 70s and 80s shows, comic books and video games. Creativity is dead.

    We experienced a sanitized Catholicism and yet more of us hear the Tridintine Mass and thinks the liberals in the Church are no threat because they’ll be dead and gone soon and Gen-X priests are true soldiers of Christ. We are the triumphant remnant of orthodoxy.

    Our politics are reactionary because the work of the 20th century to destroy America from within and merge her with the USSR, which was supposed to come to completion during WWIII in our years of coming of age DID NOT happen. The timetable moved because morning came to America and the masters of the universe where not expecting it. Although the 80s and 90s seemed prosperous, we knew that the bedrock of society had been eroded and we wanted it restored. We have to battle two large anti-American, globalist, socialist age cohorts. One that has practically destroyed this country, both the Rs and the Ds and the other which is their spawn and far more violent and nihilistic and way, way dumber and more manageable by the cult of personality.

    We are hopeful and yet totally aware that we are being screwed. If this generation cannot restore authentic conservative principles and return American to where the right is traditional and the left is libertarian and they both operate under the Christian God; and the liberals are dead, in prison or exiled, then no discussion will be necessary because America will be no more.

    Trying to fit a generation like that into a neat little box like the hippies before us and the socialists after is going to prove to difficult for anyone, even us.

    All we can say is what John McLane said – yippy kai yay. . . because we will die hard.

  • I’m feelin’ ya, Mandy. I am just trying my best to forgive. It makes it harder when boomers start blame throwing in our direction.

    More chances for forgiveness. More chances at redemptive suffering.

  • Outstanding comment, American Knight! You’ve nailed it.

  • There is no such thing as an X-con.

  • “One thing I hate about the current political climate is the amount of tribalism (and subsequent mischaracterization) that goes on.”

    “X-Cons know little about history and their deepest influence is disk jockeys, who ‘taught us X-Cons to appreciate confirmation of our political views.'”

    I think this exemplifies the “tribalism” and mischaracterization that frequently passes as Catholic political thought at CAEI.

  • Thanks Jay, it is no special task that I posted that, it is what it is. I think that the so-called Gen X is a generation who wants to be who we are, who God made us to be. The Boomers before us, and the socialist Twitter Generation after us are a group-mind and they are led by the powers of this present darkness. We don’t beat to our own drum, we are truly diverse individuals who seek to obey God as a community – we beat to His drum. The generations we are sandwiched in between are not so much individuals as more of a collective hive-mind, like the Borg from Star Trek, they are guided by utility, materialism and a sense of group self-mastery without the Master.

    It may seem arrogant to boast of my generation, and naturally this does not cover all in any group, but a general trend; however, we have to acknowledge that we are the rising generation and we are tasked with the progressive restoration of tradition, orthodoxy, and the authentic conservation of principles of Truth. If we fail to do humbly do it, restoration may be impossible and the world may be plunged into a technocratic neo-feudalism, open rebellion against God and slavery to the devil.

    That is a big task for a small generation with seemingly insurmountable odds. God likes to work with the meek and humble.

Goodbye Oprah

Wednesday, May 25, AD 2011

I have to admit that were it not for the Conan O’Brien Show, I would not have realized until now that this was the final week of the Oprah Winfrey Show.  Today National Review Online ran a symposium about her.  My response would have been simply: “Good Riddance.”  Alas other writers offered more detailed thoughts about her.  It was an interesting mix of reviews, some of them positive and others more critical.  While I appreciate some of the good that Oprah has done in promoting literacy, I am squarely in the camp of people who think Oprah’s net influence on the culture has been abysmal.

Several of her critics in this symposium discussed her left-wing politics.  The most succinct summary was Ben Shapiro’s towards the end of the symposium.  While she did indeed shill endlessly for the Chosen One in 2008, her politics never really bothered me.  The popular culture is littered with leftist clown acts.  Instead, her baleful influence on the culture runs much deeper.

Danielle Bean has one of the more insightful commentaries.  She discusses Oprah’s “spiritual” rather than religious side.

When we weren’t looking, Oprah transformed her image into something close to a spiritual icon. Her book recommendations included not only chick-lit fiction titles, but New Age spiritual resources. Her show’s tagline became “Live Your Best Life Now,” a directive that included a spirituality based on the works of New Age notables Marriane Williamson, Betty Eadie, and Sophy Burnham, among others.

In every human heart there is a void — a longing for emotional happiness, personal fulfillment, and spiritual wholeness. Our empty, aching hearts are made for communion with our Creator. Jesus Christ, who alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, can make us whole.

Oprah is a funny, smart, charismatic, and real American woman who has found commercial success by tapping into a human need for “soul food.” When popular culture feeds us New Age mumbo-jumbo, feel-good speak, and words of affirmation, we might be temporarily satiated, but in the end we come away empty again.

Oprah fills our hearts and minds with fleeting feelings. Only Christ can feed our souls.

Oprah is just the most notable representation of our culture’s affinity for new-age spirituality.  We see it everywhere.  Generic mumbo jumbo about getting in touch with our inner feelings has replaced the meatier aspects of religious formation.  Sadly this mentality is not just limited to popular culture.  It’s infected many of our parishes – just look at some of the offerings of our faith formation committees and the bland nonsense which they pass of as religious instruction.  Oprah has fed this beast better than anyone, and that is much more harmful than any of the good she may have accomplished.

Lisa Schiffren gets to the heart of why I’ve always found Oprah so odious.

Enter Oprah. Her personal confessions, tears, and overflowing emotions (delivered articulately enough to suggest preparation), changed the style of casual discourse — and, ultimately, political speech too.

Of course, the feminization of American culture had been underway for a century, episodically, before she showed up. Historian Ann Douglas had ascribed it (partly) to an alliance between victimized women and preachers, attempting to sissify a rugged pioneer culture (e.g. Prohibition or the peace movement).

On her show, Oprah got to be the hurt woman and the preacher. She talked about depression, weight, and sexual abuse, in a manner familiar to women from the intense, intimate confidences of deep female friendship. Those agonies and confessions won the love and allegiance of millions of American women, who were a little lost at whatever point in their lives they were home, watching. It worked because, in the same show, she’d go from victim to healer, offering a female version of the deeply American boot-strapper archetype.

The triumph of her style has helped de-stigmatize real victimization — which is a clear good. Alas, it has made life that much harder for conservatives and others who prefer the rational to the emotional, who don’t think that understanding necessarily equals forgiveness, and who think that there are constraints to material reality, even if there aren’t with love and forgiveness.

There are positive elements of the  feminization of the American culture, as Lisa points, but the overall effect of the Oprah-ization of America has been completely destructive.  Weepy sentimentality has become prevalent. Yeah, it’s good to deal with your emotions, but there is much more to life than perpetual group therapy.

Mollie Ziegler Hemmingway offers the most succinct summary:

If you support the widespread practice of pseudo-confessional but ultimately self-justifying defensiveness, the unleashing of hayseed morons such as Dr. Phil and trust-fund prevaricators such as James Frey, the spreading the New Age teachings of “The Secret” and normalization of a generic spirituality that views all religions as equally truthful, and encouraging grab-bag materialism over time-honored virtue, there is no question that Oprah Winfrey has had a net positive on American culture.

Amen sister.

Some will defend Oprah by saying she is a marked improvement over Jerry Springer and that brand of trash daytime television.  But a clear majority of people looked upon shows of its ilk for the trash that it was and is.  Oprah’s version of the daytime format is more nefarious because so many people actually buy into it.  In other words, almost all of America recognized that Jerry Springer was a clown.  Not so many recognize the same in Oprah.

Continue reading...

25 Responses to Goodbye Oprah

  • I can never forgive Oprah for convincing legions of brain-dead TV-watchers to vote for Obama. She has harmed our country. And furthermore, the channel she took over (formerly Discovery Health) was much better than OWN.

  • Oprah – liberal, progressive, Demokrat. No more need be said.

  • Oprah is basically a female Phil Donahue. He pioneered in Chicago what she perfected: a talk show with pretensions, spiced with emotional outbursts, fake rage by Donahue and fake weeping and joy by Oprah. Donahue was more overtly left wing than Oprah, but otherwise the formats were the same. I was on a panel of guests on the Donahue show in 1979, (it was a show on conservative youth), and I left thinking what a truly smooth huckster he was. Donahue basically played to the same audience as Oprah: white middle class to upper class suburban women. It will be interesting to see how long it takes someone else in Chicago to latch on to the same tried and true format.

  • So then why is this liberal progressive Demokrat agenda promulgated by Donahue and Oprah so appealing to white middle and upper class sub-urban women?

  • I doubt if it is Paul. I think the politics are less important than the entertainment and emotional aspects of the package. Using the same techniques, I think a talented conservative host could make a similar go of it with precisely the same audience.

  • That’s sad, Donald – people acting on decisions made as a result of emotionalism and entertainment. But that’s humanity – all of us (myself included).

  • Humanity will never be confused with Vulcans Paul! Intelligent leaders have understood the use of humor and emotion since human history began. Lincoln and Reagan for example were grand masters at it. The techniques can be put to good or ill use, but the basic approaches remain the same: Make ’em laugh, make ’em cry and get them to agree with what you propose.

  • I wish she was gone, she’s not. She now has an entire network to promote her garbage. Madame Blavatsky would be proud of her evil spawn. Oprah is one of the most dangerous people in the world. She is mainstreaming Theosophy and may likely be the instrument that Satan uses to have humanity declare an open rebellion against God.

    If this were Medieval Christendom, we’d have her investigated by the Inquisition and burned at the stake.

  • A couple of the NRO writers commented about Oprah being the standard-bearer for feeling over thinking. They’re right. Whatever intellectual gains may have come from her book club, the damage she did to the whole idea of intellect was far greater. When you promote that kind of feel-good dippiness, new age religion is pretty much inevitable.

    One peeve of mine was the over-the-top materialism interspersed between the lessons on what’s important. Finding balance in life! Yay! Remembering what matters! Yay! $50,000-a-day spa treatment! Yay!

    Now that I think about it, if you’ve got a non-judgemental feeling-driven philosophy, you probably don’t have the ability to distinguish between the satisfaction of a good family life and the satisfaction of a roast duck from the world’s best chef.

  • One peeve of mine was the over-the-top materialism interspersed between the lessons on what’s important. Finding balance in life! Yay! Remembering what matters! Yay! $50,000-a-day spa treatment! Yay!

    That’s a really excellent observation. Oprah also has those giveaway episodes where the audience is showered with the latest trendy objects and appliances, too. An interesting juxtaposition.

  • And don’t forget those fans blessed enough to be buried with her in the celebrity’s tomb.

    http://www.theonion.com/video/oprah-invites-hundreds-of-lucky-fans-to-be-buried,18443/

  • “That’s a really excellent observation. Oprah also has those giveaway episodes where the audience is showered with the latest trendy objects and appliances, too. An interesting juxtaposition.”

    It is almost Ophrah meets Prosperity Gospel. Be a true fan of Oprah and one day you may be in an Oprah audience and get a car!

  • I suspect you all have overstated her influence by an order of magnitude and attributed to her an assist to a cultural shift which was largely complete six or seven years before she was ever on the air. There have been some incremental adjustments in a disagreeable direction since (re the prevalence of a blase attitude toward homosexuality, bastardy, and of adultery by public figures – all still the subject of considerable embarrassment in 1986), but the malignancy was already large. Phil Donohue’s career was an indicator of that, as was the evolution of Esther Lederer’s (“Ann Landers”) stated views over time.

    I cannot imagine what sort of person would wish to air their family dysfunctions on national television, but I cannot see how Dr. McGraw qualifies as a hayseed or a moron.

  • Perhaps Oprah was simply in the right place at the right time, otherwise she might never have been anything other than a second-string news/morning show anchor in medium to large markets. I remember watching her VERY FIRST “A.M. Chicago” show in 1984 and her name stuck in my mind simply because it was so unusual. She seemed bubbly and friendly enough but not extraordinary in any way.

    What really put her on the map, in my opinion, was that she managed to score a supporting part in the film “The Color Purple” in 1985, for which she was nominated for an Oscar. (She was good, and I rather wish she had stuck to acting.) After that, the network/Hollywood bigwigs took notice of her and the rest is history.

  • Those who cooperate with evil receive their reward in this life and pay for it in the next and forever. The devil has dominion of this world for a short while, he even tried to tempt Christ with the power to rule. When a no-talent, obscure, moron like Oprah gets picked up for international fame from the local Baltimore TV market, something stinks.

    She is the high priestess of the New Age/Masonic/Occult propaganda machine. Follow her and you too could become a god. Yuck!

    If you don’t believe me, you need your Chakras realigned and your aura cleansed.

  • Pingback: THURSDAY MORNING EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • I love Oprah for spoiling the Clintons (plural) bid to re-take the White House. Her support for Obama was early and crucial and gave those of us voting in the “Potamac Primary” that year a true alternative to Hillary.

    I’ve said this before, I credit her with helping George W. Bush improve his standing among women voters in 2001. She invited him on her show, and was widely seen as likeable and engaging. As I recall, his fading support among women voters turned around from that point on.

  • From the Oprah finale: “People often ask me ‘What is the secret to the success of this show? How have we lasted 25 years?’ I non-jokingly say: My team and Jesus. Because nothing but the hand of God has made this possible for me.”

    Her final words were “To God be the glory.”

  • RR,

    That may be hope, but it is probably naivete on your part. She has denied Christ numerous times and very publicly and she espouses all sorts of New Age/Occult/Satanic drivel. Furthermore, occultists and Satanists often use Christian words and mean something vastly different. Mormons, who are heavily influences by the Masons, refer to the Trinity as three gods with one purpose. Yet, the average Christian thinks Mormons believe in the Trinity as we understand Him.

    To people like Oprah, God is often a force or energy and often is actually Lucifer himself. Jesus is one of the enlightened ones, but he is not the Christ. So someone like Oprah can sound pretty pious, but if you look at her fruits, she’s the devil’s priestess. The best thing we can do is pray for her soul and the fools who follow her.

  • I have to agree with Matt. I doubt W would have won the 2000 election without kissing Oprah (and let’s not debate whether he actually won or not – the point is it wouldn’t have even been that close). I truly believe that. That’s a fairly sad statement about our society that politicians have had to move from kissing babies to kissing Oprah in order to get elected.

  • I think calling Oprah “the devil’s priestess” may be a little EXTREME. Granted her mumbo-jumbo about “energy” and “life force” is B/S… call “energy” what it really is… time for others, kindess to others, gentleness, goodness, Godliness, warmth… we can’t forget that she is God’s daughter too. It’s easy here to throw stones and condemn her for being so New Age… which she is. I think though, on her behalf, she DID expose millions of people to stories about peoples struggles, victories, and personal lives HAS done some good and maybe have actually drawn people to God. While I am often put off, by people who claim to just be “spiritual” (like Oprah…) who is it to say that Christ himself did not lead people to her show, to grow curious about their own latent Christian faiths…. She DID have a group of Nuns on and showed a beautiful inside look at their lives….
    Is she off base and swept up in a fake general “spirituality”? YES YES YES
    Does that mean that she is evil and cries fake tears on her show… NO WAY.
    I think she is VERY sincere… off base… but sincere.
    Lost. But not Vicious.

  • Extreme! OK. Guilty as charged. Better to be hot or cold, than lukewarm.

    Let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no. Everything else is from the devil.

    Oprah couches the evil she spews with sentimental niceties. This is the devils cunning. Is she evil? I hope not and I pray she will be saved, but I am not giving her a pass. She is the devil’s high priestess, whether she knows it or not.

  • Anyone who has $2 billion, puts herself on the cover of every one of her magazines clearly has a massive ego that needs constant attention. Johnny Carson used to make me laugh; Oprah made me wince. When she devoted a full hour to porn “star” Jenna Jamieson that was the last straw.

  • I had always been horrified when I heard the O being discussed by relatively intelligent women.For the life of me I could mot figure out how these women could not see through this Cultist Charlatan.I think emotionalism has a lot to do with it and women generally have been given free reign to be as emotional as they care to be.Men just roll their eyes.
    Whenever I heard a woman extolling her virtues I instantly put her into the reasons why women should not be allowed the vote drawer.

Saint Thomas Becket and Three Plays

Wednesday, May 25, AD 2011

 

Destiny waits in the hand of God, not in the hands of statesmen.

TS Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral

The investiture scene from the movie Becket (1964).  The story of the great Archbishop of Canterbury Saint Thomas Becket, who, from being the worldly Chancellor of King Henry II, became the great champion of the Church in life, and a greater champion in death, has always attracted artists and writers.  In our time Jean Anouilh wrote the play Becket, brilliantly brought to the screen in the 1964 film.  Filled with historical howlers, Becket was Norman not Saxon for example, it brilliantly captures the clash between Henry and the man who had been his friend and loyal servant, but who served a Greater Master after Henry, over his protest, had him raised to be Archbishop of Canterbury.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Saint Thomas Becket and Three Plays

  • Last Fall I saw a tremendous off-broadway performance of ‘Murder in the Cathedral” by the Brooklyn Arts HQ and performed in an actual cathedral (well, a majestic parish church anyway — St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Brooklyn, NY). Excellent production of this great play enhanced by the staging in a church.

  • Pingback: WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • Much to my regret Kurt I have never seen a live performance of Murder in the Cathedral. My dream would be a dual revival of Anouilh’s Becket and Murder in the Cathedral with the plays being show on alternating nights.

John Trumbull: Painting the Revolution

Tuesday, May 24, AD 2011

In an age before photography, America was fortunate to have a painter of the skill of John Trumbull to give us a visual narrative of those stirring days and portraits of so many of the participants.  A veteran of the American Revolution, serving as an aide to George Washington and deputy adjutant general to Horation Gates, Trumbull painted with one eye, having lost sight in the other as a result of a childhood accident.

Some of the more notable paintings of Trumbull are:

Trumbull allowed future generations of Americans to visualize these scenes of the birth of their nation.  Of course, the man was not without his critics:

Continue reading...

4 Responses to John Trumbull: Painting the Revolution

  • Thank you Kurt. The clip from the John Adams’ miniseries is my favorite from the whole series. It skillfully combines both humor and melancholy and conveys the hard, perhaps impossible, task of every truly understanding a vast historical event like the American Revolution unless one lived through it.

  • The miniseries was fantastic. I watched it all.

    And I walk by the Trumbull painting frequently. It is impossible not to pause and reflect on it, even if it be ahistorical.

  • The advantage of a great painting is that even if it is ahistorical it can convey an underlying truth about an event depicted, in a similar manner to the way in which a great historical novel, Gironella’s trilogy on the Spanish Civil War for example, can convey the passion and fervor of a period of history missing from a dry chronicle of events.

What is Harvey Milk Day?

Monday, May 23, AD 2011

Save California has released an informational video explaining all of the details conveniently left out by the Kulturkampf Jihadists otherwise known as Liberals/Progressives and ACLU in celebrating high-risk sex by exposing it to innocent five year old children in California’s public schools.

For the Save California website click here.

Hat Tip: Cal Catholic Daily

Continue reading...

44 Responses to What is Harvey Milk Day?

  • Pingback: TUESDAY MORNING EDITION | ThePulp.it
  • I heard or read recently that semen neutralizes the environment of the woman’s vagina so that it will be more receptive to the implantation of the new life. I have not taken the time to investigate this phenomena but at first sense this would seem to be true. When males are exposed to this neutralizing effect of semen, is it any wonder that all sorts of maladies would be the end effect?

    God forgives always
    Man forgives sometimes
    Mother Nature never forgives.

  • In America today, children are safer in the care of a homosexual couple than in the womb of their own heterosexual mother.

  • Kurt,

    You have any evidence to back it up outside of your own personal feelings based nothing on except… *feelings*.

  • Tito,

    If you can’t do the math on that in your own head, you have no understanding of the evil of abortion. I’m sorry for that.

  • Kurt,

    When you leave a cryptic comment, expect the type of comment to that response.

    In the meantime, brush up on your charity.

  • In America today, children are safer in the care of a homosexual couple than in the womb of their own heterosexual mother.

    Perfectly irrelevant unless you posit that the alternative in policy to turning children over to homosexuals is to slaughter them.

  • Kurt,
    I suspect that you are probably correct, but honestly one cannot easily know. One cannot simply compare the number of abortions to the number abuses at the hands of same-sex homosexual parents because the number of pregnant women and the number of such parents are not comparable. But it seems intuitively correct to me that what you say is almost certainly true. But I would hope that you would agree that your statement is best understood as an indictment of abortion rather than as a brief for same sex homosexual parenting.

  • Perfectly irrelevant unless you posit that the alternative in policy to turning children over to homosexuals is to slaughter them.

    Given that in my limited and sheltered life, (i don’t get out much other than to go to church and work) I know of two gay couples who took in an otherwise unwanted child headed to being aborted, yes, I so do posit.

    Anyway, more children are harmed in the womb of their heterosexual mother than in the care of a homosexual couple.

  • Kurt,
    I suspect that you are probably correct, but … I would hope that you would agree that your statement is best understood as an indictment of abortion…

    Without a doubt.

  • Given that about 24% of pregnancies nationwide end in abortion, even fighting in the trenches of World War One was safer than being an unborn child in modern America. I’m not sure that the comparison is a hugely useful one.

    That kind of reasoning would convince one that playing Russian Roulette is a good idea.

  • @Kurt

    > “Given that in my limited and sheltered life, (i don’t get out much other than to go to church and work) I know of two gay couples who took in an otherwise unwanted child headed to being aborted, yes, I so do posit.”

    As far as I know, there is a _line_ of adults wanting to adopt children. Just-born babies are specially coveted.

    Abortions are not caused by “lack of adoption”. If you ask “Planned Parenthood”, they explicitly say that killing the baby is better then putting up for adoption. Those feminists simply do not want babies to be born.

    You could allow adoption to homosexuals, alcoholic bachelors, or whoever, and abortion would not go down.

    So why did you make this comparison? This can easily be used for dishonest homosexual propaganda.

  • Ignoring the pseudo-science in the video, if we can teach little kids to honor a genocidal maniac (Columbus), slaveowners, and a radical socialist (Helen Keller), why not Harvey Milk?

    “When males are exposed to this neutralizing effect of semen, is it any wonder that all sorts of maladies would be the end effect?”

    What in the world?

  • > “Ignoring the pseudo-science in the video”

    What “pseudo-science”?

    >”, if we can teach little kids to honor a genocidal maniac (Columbus), slaveowners, and a radical socialist (Helen Keller)”

    Don’t mix completely different things. When people respect slave-owners, they generally forgive them for holding a position that were very entrenched at their times. It may be quite difficult to think outside the cultural box, and we may forgive slave-owners who do (in this regard) what their parents and everyone around them taught them to do. None of this applies to Harvey Milk.

    Second, if you don’t like slave-owners or Helen Keller to be revered in schools, then argue against them; it makes no logical sense to say “because slave-owners are honored, perverts must be honored too”. What kind of logic is that?

    >”, why not Harvey Milk?”

    Besides what I have said above, there is the fact the making _children_ honor a _child predator_ is pretty much unbelievable. What next? Will we make Jews honor Hitler?

  • “Don’t mix completely different things. When people respect slave-owners, they generally forgive them for holding a position that were very entrenched at their times. It may be quite difficult to think outside the cultural box, and we may forgive slave-owners who do (in this regard) what their parents and everyone around them taught them to do. None of this applies to Harvey Milk.”

    I think all of that applies to Harvey Milk.

    “Second, if you don’t like slave-owners or Helen Keller to be revered in schools, then argue against them”

    I think they should all be taught as heroic but flawed figures, Harvey Milk included.

  • It’s sick out there and getting sicker.

  • @RR
    > “I think they should all be taught as heroic but flawed figures, Harvey Milk included.”

    For _children_? Really?

    One thing is for an adult to study academically the non-evil work of a guy who also did evil. For example, last year I studied the work of a logician who was also a Nazi. It was OK, because I am an adult, and also because we were only studying his work – and not _honoring_ the man.

    But

    1) small children
    2) honoring
    3) a child predator

    ? Really? How can this even be considered?

  • Small children honoring a slaveowner? Maybe you leave out the bad parts until they’re a bit older. I think that’s how most are taught and I’m sure that’s how Harvey Milk is taught.

  • RR,
    Referring to Columbus as a genocidal maniac is an unsupportable stupid slur.

  • I think they should all be taught as heroic but flawed figures, Harvey Milk included.

    He was a camera merchant who served a brief term as a municipal councillor in San Francisco. He was a bachelor all his life and never had any children. He is well-known because he made a public point of his sexual perversions and he was regrettably in the wrong place at the wrong time on a November day in 1978. He was none too scrupulous. I respect people who go into business for themselves and are willing to take on the time-consuming mess of municipal budgets, legislation, and constituent service. I cannot see what is heroic about him. My township supervisor compares favorably to Harvey Milk, but the New York state legislature will never insist that a day be devoted to his life and works in the state’s schools.

  • Milk is celebrated by the powers that be in California for only one thing: he was one of the first elected officials in that state who was an open homosexual. This is all about identity politics and the promotion of the homosexual agenda, and to pretend otherwise is as foolish as it is mendacious.

  • I guess teaching Sally Ride is promoting the feminist agenda and teaching Jackie Robinson is promoting the Black Panther agenda?

  • They actually accomplished something RR. All Mr. Milk accomplished was being badly ensnared in a politically correct sin.

  • He was a camera merchant who served a brief term as a municipal councillor in San Francisco. He was a bachelor all his life and never had any children. He is well-known because he made a public point of his sexual perversions and he was regrettably in the wrong place at the wrong time on a November day in 1978.

    Bingo.

  • I guess teaching Sally Ride is promoting the feminist agenda and teaching Jackie Robinson is promoting the Black Panther agenda?

    1. Personally, I do not think that the life and works of either of these individuals merits more than passing mention in the sort of historical survey courses which are offered to elementary and secondary students.

    2. If there is a ‘Sally Ride Day’ or a ‘Jackie Robinson Day’ prescribed by any state legislature, can you tell us which one?

    3. Dr. Ride is an astrophysicist who did two things very few people do: completing the terminal degree in the hardest of hard sciences and traveling in space.

    4. I doubt Stokely Carmichael or H. Rap Brown took, during their years as public figures, more than a passing interest in Jackie Robinson.

    5. Discussion of the life of both can be framed in a way that is politically sectarian and distortive (and thus inadvisable).

  • Let’s also not forget Milk’s unwavering public support for the atheist, communist, bisexual rapist and mass murderer Jim Jones. Quite a hero, that Harvey Milk..

  • Milk was the first openly-gay politician in California. That coupled with the assassination is why we’re talking about him and not your local township supervisor. Milk is historically significant.

  • Another thing. Harvey Milk Day doesn’t mandate the teaching of anything. Teachers could teach or not teach kids about him with or without the day.

  • “Personally, I do not think that the life and works of either of these individuals merits more than passing mention in the sort of historical survey courses which are offered to elementary and secondary students.”

    I agree. Though they can be taught as part of a larger lesson on women’s history or black history. But I doubt opponents of Harvey Milk Day would approve of even a passing mention of him in classrooms.

  • Milk was the first openly-gay politician in California.

    And what people are saying is that this is not an “achievement” which needs to be discussed extensively with elementary school kids.

  • @Kurt

    > “Given that in my limited and sheltered life, (i don’t get out much other than to go to church and work) I know of two gay couples who took in an otherwise unwanted child headed to being aborted, yes, I so do posit.”

    As far as I know, there is a _line_ of adults wanting to adopt children. Just-born babies are specially coveted.

    You could allow adoption to homosexuals, alcoholic bachelors, or whoever, and abortion would not go down.

    So why did you make this comparison? This can easily be used for dishonest homosexual propaganda.

    I noted two particular situations I am aware of and you responsed to my comment. Therefore I can say that you are wrong and your views promote abortion and the destruction of the unborn.

    Without violating anyone’s privacy, I can tell you in both cases it was a matter of the gentlemen personally interacting with the mothers. I think the gentlemen’s actions were heroic. If you want to assert that it is not possible for some gay guys to have been heroic in these circumstances, I’ll continue the discussion. Otherwise, I’ll take your silence as a retraction.

  • @Kurt

    “Given that in my limited and sheltered life, (i don’t get out much other than to go to church and work) I know of two gay couples who took in an otherwise unwanted child headed to being aborted, yes, I so do posit.”

    As far as I know, there is a _line_ of adults wanting to adopt children. Just-born babies are specially coveted.

    You could allow adoption to homosexuals, alcoholic bachelors, or whoever, and abortion would not go down.

    So why did you make this comparison? This can easily be used for dishonest homosexual propaganda.

    I noted two particular situations I am aware of and you responsed to my comment. Therefore I can say that you are wrong and your views promote abortion and the destruction of the unborn.

    Without violating anyone’s privacy, I can tell you in both cases it was a matter of the gentlemen personally interacting with the mothers. I think the gentlemen’s actions were heroic. If you want to assert that it is not possible for some gay guys to have been heroic in these circumstances, I’ll continue the discussion. Otherwise, I’ll take your silence as a retraction.

  • That coupled with the assassination is why we’re talking about him and not your local township supervisor. Milk is historically significant

    No. he. isn’t. Except as a study in aspects of political culture. And he was not assassinated. He happened to be in the hallway when Dan White was on a rampage.

  • But I doubt opponents of Harvey Milk Day would approve of even a passing mention of him in classrooms.

    It’s not like the teachers do not have other things to discuss.

  • Milk wasn’t actually the first openly gay politician in California. In fact, when Milk finally did win elected office, his main opponent was another openly gay man (Richard Stokes) who had been “out” longer than Milk.

  • @Kurt
    > “I noted two particular situations I am aware of and you responsed to my comment. Therefore I can say that you are wrong and your views promote abortion and the destruction of the unborn.”

    What? What is the logic here?

  • @Darwin, is being the first black MLB player an “achievement”? At the very least, the election of Harvey Milk is a significant milestone.

    I also didn’t say anything about “extensive” discussion.

    Reading the California Education Code, there are lots of holidays that most likely go uncelebrated in schools. California Poppy Day? It looks like they designated a day for every minority and picked a representative to put a face on the day. Blacks (Crispus Attucks) , Asians (Fred Korematsu), Hispanics (Cesar Chavez), women (Susan B Anthony), environmentalists (John Muir), and Republicans (Ronald Reagan). Native Americans get a day but no name.

  • “The only evils these people recognize are having to endure hunger, disease, and murder. It is as though man’s greatest good were to have everything good, except himself.” St. Augustine, The City of God

  • “And he was not assassinated. He happened to be in the hallway when Dan White was on a rampage.”

    Are you serious? How widespread is this misinformation? I guess, properly teaching Harvey Milk is even more important than I thought.

  • “… properly teaching Harvey Milk …”?

    Good grief! Really?

  • Given the time limits in history classrooms, “properly teaching” everyone’s trail-blazing icon is a zero-sum game. Whom do we exclude as a result?

  • Pogo: “We have met the enemy. And, he is us!”

  • Are you serious? How widespread is this misinformation?

    White was at city hall to meet with Mayor George Moscone. His encounter with Milk was happenstance.

    There was prior to Milk’s election an explicit homosexual in the Minnesota legislature and one in the Massachusetts legislature.

  • A few minutes after White was admitted to the mayor’s office, the secretary heard the sound of his raised voice and then several dull thuds. White then exited the mayor’s office, reloaded his gun while making sure he was not observed, and ran to the area of the building housing the supervisors’ offices and used his key to enter. There, Supervisor Feinstein called to him, but White said to her, “I have to do something first,” and asked to meet with Supervisor Milk. Promptly, within 15 seconds of entering Milk’s office, White shot Milk once through his mid-section, then twice more into his chest. When Milk fell to the ground, White shot him through the back of the head splattering the office with blood. Then White put the muzzle of his gun against Harvey Milk’s skull and blew out the remainder of his brains. White confessed that he was upset about losing his job and that he had killed Milk because he had thought that Milk had plotted to have him removed. White’s aide testified that she had driven White to City Hall that day, and that White had told her in the car (while he was armed with his concealed weapon and extra bullets, unbeknownst to her) that he was planning to see both Moscone and Milk. In his confession, White claimed he didn’t know why he brought his gun and ten extra bullets to City Hall that day.

    According to Happenstance Theory, it was happenstance that White went to City Hall that day, happenstance that he brought a gun with him plus ten extra bullets, happenstance that Moscone was shot, happenstance that White then reloaded his gun with the extra bullets he happened to have brought with him that day, happenstance that he specifically then asked to see Milk, happenstance that he then promptly shot Milk, not once, but over and over again, happenstance that White confessed that he killed Milk because he had thought Milk had plotted against him, and happenstance that after having shot the two people he reportedly had planned to see that day, he didn’t again reload his gun like he did before requesting to see Milk but instead left for the day. And happenstance that White wrote befote his suicide in 1985 that “I shot [Moscone] five times, then reloaded and went down the hall to do the same thing to Harvey… [Moscone] decided for me.” Happenstance that “If I had won, I probably wouldn’t have bothered with Harvey.” “Down the hall to Harvey’s office. His aide let me in. I shut the door, pulled out the gun, and wiped the smirk off Harvey’s face with five more bullets.”

    According to Happenstance Theory, everything, including every murder, every election, everything, is happenstance, for if the murderer’s life had been different, if George Moscone had said White could have his job back, if a butterfly somewhere over the Amazon had flapped its wings just a little faster, things woulda coulda have happened otherwise. But instead, we had a “Crash Moment”, as Oprah might call it, and now we have Harvey Milk Day. All happenstance.